Waking up with the Kings: March 9 - LA Kings Insider

Several abbreviated observations from Thursday’s 3-1 win over Washington:

-After Washington’s top players generated several rush opportunities early in the game that forced Jonathan Quick into difficult saves on Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and others, the Kings were able to find their groove in the game, and with that came a responsible defensive effort that made life easier for Jonathan Quick in the second and third periods. The ability to snuff out the Capitals’ three power plays played a major role in the win; defensive plays by Nate Thompson and Dustin Brown denied clean zone entries, and by the time the Capitals had generated some in-zone looks deep into their man advantages, Alex Ovechkin wasn’t gifted any looks at the net from his office in the left circle. It was an identity-type win for the Kings, who raised their urgency and were stronger in board and puck battles than their opponents, who were better than their road trip opener at Anaheim and have their own physical identity but didn’t quite generate the necessary Grade-A effort to win on the road against another good team.

Harry How/Getty Images

-It wasn’t an intraconference game, so there wasn’t much of a hardened or deep-seeded division between the two teams, but the focus and defensive intensity was still apparent and representative for the time of the year. It was also a game in which the Kings demonstrated that their top players are also their top defensive players, with Brown, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar spearheading the full team efforts at both ends. Doughty and Derek Forbort also continued to limit Alex Ovechkin and did a very good job with the entire Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson combination. Since his two-goal, three-point performance versus L.A. at the (then) Verizon Center near the end of the 2013-14 season, he has one goal over his last eight games against the Kings and has been held without a point in his last three match-ups.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI

-Jeff Carter appears to be nearing a return towards his natural timing and the heightened pace of late-season NHL action. Even if there had been a few laboring moments over the last two weeks in his re-acclimation after missing 55 games, his all-around hockey intelligence and ability to turn 40/60 pucks into the Kings favor with his reach and wingspan has helped keep pucks alive in the attacking end and along the perimeter of the ice. He won 11-of-17 faceoffs and logged over a minute of both power play and penalty killing time.

Harry How/Getty Images

-Speaking of faceoffs, Anze Kopitar finished 13-of-17 and Nate Thompson 8-of-10. Thompson’s performance was representative of the ability of Los Angeles’ third and fourth lines of being able to play in the offensive end. First period pressure by the Kempe-Amadio-Lewis connection drew respectful applause from the crowd, while Clifford, Mitchell and Thompson were strong throughout the game and allowed John Stevens to balance the minutes out across the lineup. Adrian Kempe drew the lowest usage at 10:58, serving to emphasize the team’s enhanced depth and, for the first time this season, a full and healthy allotment of players.

Harry How/Getty Images

-Lead photo via Harry How/Getty Images

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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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