Waking up with the Kings: October 12 - LA Kings Insider

Thursday’s win at Montreal – the LA Kings’ 12th in 73 visits – wasn’t exactly a frameable, pristine performance, but it did reflect a step forward after a recent step back in Winnipeg, and during a span in which the Kings are down four players they expected to open the season with, including two whose numbers will hang from the rafters, style points aren’t as important as the understanding that points are points are points. There were some puck management challenges shortly after puck drop, but an airtight penalty kill and Jack Campbell’s excellence afforded the team a few extra minutes to get their team game together, and an opportunistic Adrian Kempe, who hadn’t scored since February 7, again was the hammer to the Canadiens’ nails in providing the comfort of an early lead. Jaret Anderson-Dolan shook off several hits behind the Montreal net before issuing the puck to an unmarked Michael Amadio in the slot, and the second-year center snapped the puck inside the far post to provide early insurance. Amadio, who worked closely with Matt Price and the team’s Strength and Conditioning department over the off-season and was taken out of his comfort zone to evolve his training regimen, fully bought in and reaped the rewards with a strong preseason in which he showed off some improved first-step quickness. He’s an interesting playmaker who scored 50 goals in his 19-year-old junior season, and if there are opportunities to afford some younger players additional playing time, he’s a prime target to benefit from such an allotment.

Francois Lacasse/NHLI

But, yeah, Campbell. The team game was better than it was in the other three games this season, and the Kings’ defense did a good job sweeping pucks away from danger and limiting second and third opportunities, but L.A. used a generous helping of Soup to come away with points at the Bell Centre. They’ve now allowed at least 50 5×5 shot attempts in four straight games after never going more than two consecutive games last season, and while results and direction of play aren’t necessarily harbingers of anything over the first three weeks or so of the season, you’d still prefer to be pushing the play instead of having to play to that type of degree in your own zone. But the Kings got their legs going and had a good response to what was anticipated to be a strong Montreal push to begin the third, and when Jeff Carter spun and swatted Jack Muzzin’s deflected feed past Carey Price, it was a representation of the team’s ability to handle the expected push efficiently, even if they were out-shot. The gap in chances wasn’t anywhere near as wide as the gap in shot attempts – Montreal’s a high-shot volume team that likes to test goaltenders from all over the ice – and Natural Stat Trick placed scoring chances at even and high-danger chances favoring Los Angeles by a significant margin. It was a reflection of an encouraging road performance, even if the power play remained a sore spot.

Davif Kirousac/Icon Sportswire

The Kings were poised to begin the year with pretty good balance in their scoring lines, but Brown’s injury threw that out of whack, and the team relied heavily on its top forwards over the first three games of the season. On Thursday, Jeff Carter was moved to right wing, where he skated opposite Anderson-Dolan on Amadio’s line. (Carter also took 11 faceoffs, winning nine.) Carter has experience skating alongside and serving as a strong influence on younger players, and on Thursday, generated a significant portion of Los Angeles’ high-danger opportunities as part of a three-point performance catalyzed by the contributions from his two linemates. “I thought that line was terrific,” Stevens said Friday. “I thought that change was good for us. Gave us some really good energy, but I think the important thing for us right now is we take the good here and we continue to improve our team game, because we know it’s going to need to be really strong as we move along here with the teams we’re playing.”

Francois Lacasse/NHLI

-Lead photo via David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
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.
VIEW ADRIAN KEMPE POSTS

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.
VIEW ALEX IAFALLO POSTS

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.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
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.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
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.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
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.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS