Waking up with the Kings: January 14 - LA Kings Insider

A 7:56 start time allowed for the drama to build on Bob Miller Celebration Day, and three fights within four seconds less than three minutes into the game served as an appropriate crescendo towards the continuation of what has evolved into perhaps the league’s most premier rivalry. Los Angeles received an early power play when Andrew Cogliano, who was fortunate that he wasn’t expelled from the game, raised his shoulder on Adrian Kempe well away from the puck on a play that will likely end the fourth-longest consecutive games played streak in NHL history. No matter; Kempe returned to the game and the Kings embarked on an early power play backed by a vocal 18,000 plus on a celebratory night. And then John Gibson made an outstanding save on Trevor Lewis from point blank range and robbed Nick Shore during another high-quality power play look, and at the other end of the ice, 33 seconds after the Ducks killed the power play, Ondrej Kase snapped a puck from outside the scoring chance radius along the right wing that snuck through Jonathan Quick on the first shot on goal he faced. The Los Angeles core has carried this team both through their actual production as well as in the more intangible values such as leadership and will, and Quick has probably been the MVP of the group that has catalyzed this team towards a playoff berth through the first half of the season. He simply had a rough game – one of very few off-nights for a player who will draw Vezina Trophy consideration – which made a 2-0 deficit to a stingy Anaheim team a difficult mountain to climb.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

The game was checked well by both sides, neither of whom ceded much down the center of the ice or directly in front of the net. That type of wash should have benefited the Kings, who for the first time this season were not as healthy as the Ducks in a head-to-head match-up. Anze Kopitar, who now has 24 goals and 64 points in 62 games in the rivalry has always been a Duck killer, but beyond his 882 career games, Los Angeles entered the night with centers who had logged 66, 211 and 632 games of NHL service. That’s not overwhelmingly low, but compared with Ryan Getzlaf (880 games), Ryan Kesler (903), Adam Henrique (473) and Antoine Vermette (1,025), Anaheim had an advantage both in experience and in depth down the middle. But apart from the flubbed pass back to Kurtis MacDermid, and Quick’s misplayment of the puck behind the net that led to Kase’s mid-slot second goal, and the odd rush opportunity, the goals and scoring chances against weren’t accumulating from high-danger areas, and that’s a credit to a team-wide checking performance that was clearly not without mistakes but still pieced together an effective night in suppressing chances and shots against.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

Based on a two-game sample size bridging the bye week, Alex Iafallo has effectively hit the reset button and appears refreshed after sitting out a pair of games on the recent Western Canada swing. Not that John Stevens would ever need any reinforcement from LAKI, but he was absolutely correct that Iafallo may have been Los Angeles’ best forward last night and was at his puck-hounding, retrieving best. On Kopitar’s goal, he made a nice play along the boards after weathering a hit to work the puck up to Derek Forbort, whose blocked shot caromed into the captain’s wheelhouse. With the movement along the left side of the lineup, it would be a great boon for the Kings if he could reclaim his spot aside Kopitar and Dustin Brown during a period in which Marian Gaborik has been productive early over his last six games but has registered only one shot on goal over his last three. Los Angeles’ offense shows better balance with Iafallo contributing on the forecheck and skating higher up in the lineup.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

Stick taps to the Kings organization for a touching and memorable reflection of Bob Miller’s career. This has been an ongoing celebration for the last two seasons, and it remains fresh and poignant, thanks to a talented game operations staff and, most of all, colleagues of Bob’s that provided charming and heartfelt testimonials. Jim Fox Spoke eloquently, as did Nick Nickson, Pete Weber and Luc Robitaille, and to see Jiggs McDonald and Rich Marotta and other figures with whom Bob shared Kings airwaves with made for a special celebration of a man who is responsible, along with icons such as Vin Scully, Chick Hearn, Dick Enberg, and even the wonderful Keith Jackson, in helping shape Los Angeles sports culture as a city that has benefited greatly from its acclaimed play by play broadcasters. Helene Elliott capture the pageantry and Bob’s career very well here.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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