Waking up with the Kings: March 16 - LA Kings Insider

The LA Kings held a narrow lead for most of Thursday’s game, and when a plucky and committed Detroit team equalized early in the third and was buzzing for a go-ahead goal, used their top players to create a little bit of puck luck and claim a three-goal win in a low-event game that was tightly checked, closer than the score indicated and representative of the ability to stick with a game plan, commit to working hard and eventually be rewarded. Anyone who recalls anything about the opposition and the legacy of the rivalry will scoff at a “poor Red Wings” lament (as well as the description of Detroit as “plucky and committed”), but, man, These Are Not Good Times. The Wings didn’t give off the vibe of a team that had lost seven straight. They matched up with Henrik Zetterberg, Dylan Larkin and Frans Nielsen down the middle and improved as the game elapsed but came away with zero points in the game in large part because Jonathan Quick, who is quietly rebounding nicely from whatever was afflicting him mid-season, was again outstanding and has a .932 save percentage over his last 15 games.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI

Quick’s terrific performance was representative of the effort put forth by other team leaders. Anze Kopitar is a long shot to win the Hart Trophy, but he’s making a strong case for it and could end up with his second Selke Trophy by virtue of the extra recognition to his season that a 90-point pace brings. With four more points, he’s well on his way towards posting his most productive season as a pro – as a 30-year-old who is tiptoeing closer to 1,000 games played. This is awfully impressive, especially given the context of his previous season and the extra demands mentally placed upon him as the captain of the team. He’s also shooting the puck more and on pace for 200 shots on goal, even if his game-winner wasn’t exactly the representation of beating the goaltender cleanly from the mid-slot with a pristine wristshot. Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown also had their fingerprints on the victory, as did Jeff Carter, who was the team’s most effective player at tilting the ice towards the attacking end.

David Dennis/Icon Sportswire

The Kings are 6-2-1 in their last nine games, so they’ve done their part to remain just above the fray of a tightly compacted group of Western Conference teams that remain in the mix. Los Angeles is done with the also-rans for now; within that 6-2-1 stretch, they traded off wins and losses with four teams that were outside of a playoff berth during a tougher-than-it-appeared four-in-six stretch. There’s little rest for the weary with an equally desperate New Jersey team punctuating a home-heavy stretch of play and turning a four-in-six into a five-in-seven-and-a-half. From there, the fun really starts. Two games remain against Colorado and Minnesota and one each against Dallas, Anaheim and Calgary – oh, haven’t forgotten about you, Winnipeg, on the second night of a back-to-back, again – as part of a 10-game stretch that will end the season and force Los Angeles to get its rest and return to the ice on game days with a fully refilled mental reservoir and a short memory. The home stretch is nigh.

Andrew D. Bernstein/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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