Waking up with the Kings: March 13 - LA Kings Insider

After the Vancouver Canucks had lost 1-0 in Arizona on Sunday, Jacob Markstrom shared some pointed words for a team that had lost its third straight and was unable to generate much punch to make up for a bevy of injuries affecting key players. “It’s not like the season is over and let’s meet up in September. That’s not how it’s going to be. I can promise you we’re not going to have the same guys here in September. You’ve got to earn your spots and it starts right now,” he said in what could be construed as an effort to rally the emotional level and conjure an attack with more pride when the team reconvened the following night at Staples Center. It wasn’t completely different from Los Angeles’ previous opponent. St. Louis skidded into Downtown Los Angeles having won once in their previous 10 games; they summoned the necessary battle and juju and won back-to-back games by an aggregate 11-4 count to keep their playoff hopes alive. Though both teams have been beset by injury, the Canucks, who have been sneakily good with their full assortment of players, didn’t have the same personnel as the Blues. They kept the game even through nearly 22 minutes on the back of a strong game in net by Anders Nilsson but simply ran into a focused, swiftly-paced and ready-to-battle Kings team that had clearly learned a lesson from Saturday’s shellacking.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

Los Angeles did so many things on Monday that they didn’t do on Saturday. They played a smart, controlled, composed, structured game in which they were relentless in winning back pucks and exchanging them up-ice with the go-go-go urgency that has been accentuated from last year to this. There was good speed and pace to their attack. They played fast. It was interesting that one of the conversations on Monday morning with John Stevens was about puck retrieval and the best chances in hockey coming off turnovers. Anze Kopitar’s goal, off a slick passing sequence from Drew Doughty and representative of the lightning-quick counterattacking similar to the origin of many of Vegas’ rush chances, originated with a terrific defensive play in which Alec Martinez dove, slowing down a Canucks’ rush long enough to allow Alex Iafallo to covertly lift a stick on the backcheck, steal the puck and head in the other direction to spark the ultimately successful scoring opportunity.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

All lines skated with good energy and purpose throughout the win, but if there was one group to separate from the pack of offensive groups, it was the Kempe line. Reprising the energy and offensive zone play that had become associated with the group over the first half of the season, the Pearson-Kempe-Toffoli combination played disproportionately in the attacking end and was effective on the forecheck, setting up the first goal when Adrian Kempe won a puck battle, allowing Jake Muzzin to streamline a pass up-ice to a streaking Tyler Toffoli, and on the third goal, when Tanner Pearson’s pressure forced a Vancouver turnover in which Toffoli blocked the outlet before finding Kempe, whose pass to Pearson resulted in the left-winger outwaiting Nilsson and snapping the puck upstairs, a la NHL ‘95, as noted by Wyatt Arndt in I Watched This Game. (More on the end to a bleak season in Canucksdom can be found in last night’s Provies, courtesy of Jason Botchford.) As has often been said in following these types of complete performances, it’s not easy to single out one group. The Kings had the right mindset and won an important two points because their well-paced and heavier team game thrived.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.
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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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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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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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