After scant offensive opportunity versus Calgary, net-front "mindset" reinforced - LA Kings Insider

This will be a quick post, because if this morning’s traffic is any indication, it should take somewhere between eight and nine hours to travel from El Segundo to Staples Center during rush hour, and I’d like to try to arrive in time for post-game media availability. But it’s not necessarily an “evergreen” story, so I wanted to make sure it got up today to provide the appropriate context for tonight’s Kings-Leafs game.

If you saw Saturday’s game against Calgary, you’re already aware that Los Angeles’ didn’t muster enough of a net-front presence.

“Structurally, I thought we played really well, but 12 shots through two periods isn’t enough,” Dustin Brown said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a high-scoring team or a low-scoring team. That’s just not enough. We need more volume at the net, we need more people at the net. I think when we get away from that, it really shows, and Calgary was just one of those games that for whatever reason we didn’t have enough guys going there consistently. I think that’s another thing about it – when we are good at it, every line’s doing it. It’s not just one. Maybe against Calgary we had one line doing it and then another line not. When we’re playing well as a team, it’s very consistent getting guys and pucks to the net.”

It’s one thing to say, “get bodies and pucks to the net.” But, as some hockey fans forget, there are two teams on the ice, and the opposition is doing everything possible to keep bodies and pucks from converging in front of their goaltender. On Tuesday, I spoke with Willie Desjardins and Brown about ways to stockpile those second and third chances as a means to boost an offense. Their answers, along with several Drew Doughty musings, are below.

Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire

Willie Desjardins, on where the net-front presence originates:
It has to be a mindset. Like, we have to know when we come in the zone, we’ve got a middle drive. We’ve got to have a guy going to the net right off the start. Whenever our D are looking to shoot, you have to have somebody finding their way. And it is hard to get in that area. The D, their job is to box out, so it’s not easy to get in that area. But in the Calgary game, of the three games I’ve been here, we certainly didn’t get to the net-front in that game, and it was a game we needed to.

Dustin Brown, on forwards other than him and Tanner Pearson that are effective goalie screeners:
I think we have a lot of guys that are good at it. It’s just a matter of being consistent with it. I think A.I. is another guy maybe not directly in front of the net, but he always finds those pockets maybe five, six feet up. Sometimes it’s just a mindset more than anything else.

Brown, on where the pivotal junctures of tonight’s game will be:
I think the start. We’ve got to be good early. It just comes down to having a really good start for us. I don’t think we came out very well against Calgary. We kind of waited and waited, and you can’t do that.

Drew Doughty, on Toronto:
We can’t play a run-and-gun game with them. They’ll be beat us that way. We’ve got to play a good, solid two-way game and minimize our turnovers and try to have the puck as much as we possibly can.

Doughty, on ways to create more offensive chances tonight:
More pucks to the net. Get hungrier around the net. Take more pucks to the net rather than playing on the perimeter. And the power play, we’ve got to score when we have the opportunity.

Doughty, on how to make something of the home stand:
Obviously, we want to come out positive on the homestand and come out 4-3. We can’t be digging ourselves any deeper of a hole. We need to start putting wins together, we need to be more consistent and put a row of wins together. If we keep winning two, losing one, it ain’t going to help us in the long run, so we need to put a winning streak together. It starts with Toronto tonight. Get on a roll tonight.

-Lead photo via David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

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


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

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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


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

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.