Waking up with the Kings: December 1 - LA Kings Insider

After flexibly bending to the terminal limits of an ugly defensive slog, the LA Kings finally broke in the third period and fell 4-1 to Calgary after a pair of empty-net goals provided a more accurate reading of the blitz they faced over the final half of the game than had been indicated when the teams were tied at one with half a period to go. To L.A.’s credit, they were right there, ready to scratch and claw and steal a road point or two when Noah Hanifin hooked Dustin Brown’s right arm off his stick in the direct line of sight of a referee no more than 12 feet away. No penalty was called, Mike Smith made an outstanding save on Brown after he had cut towards the center of the ice to release his shot, and on the ensuing trip to the Kings’ end, Dion Phaneuf was whistled for slashing Austin Czarnik. For the second straight night, Los Angeles didn’t get the late kill it needed, punctuating an extremely difficult three-week stretch in which a staple of organizational identity has incomprehensively been absent. Talking about identity, the Kings aren’t an offensively gifted team, and to an even greater degree than their squad two seasons ago, are creating very little. Approaching the midway point of the game, each team had 21 shot attempts, and against a goaltender who entered the night with a 3.29 goals-against average, an .883 save percentage and a losing record, L.A. couldn’t get enough bodies and pucks to the net and finished with just 14 shots on goal.

Gerry Thomas/NHLI

There were impactful shortcomings in detail too difficult to overcome for a 31st place team on the road against a first place team. 34 seconds after the Kings received the game’s first power play, Adrian Kempe was whistled for a high-sticking double-minor. Their top unit did not receive one second of power play time. Two shifts after Kempe’s equalizer, already into a long shift, Tyler Toffoli chose to try and step around a Calgary defender instead of getting the puck deep. The puck was turned over, and his line, along with the Forbort-Doughty pairing, remained on for three minutes and 32 seconds while taking three icings. Neither situation led to any goals against, but that’s six minutes of game time in which Los Angeles was pressed back and out-attempted 11-1.

Gerry Thomas/NHLI

Despite tumult elsewhere, the Kings’ goaltending has been rock solid and has kept them in a number of games even as they’ve averaged 1.67 goals an outing over their last 12. Cal Petersen exuded his familiar mettle by hanging tough after an unfortunate goal against in the game’s first minute. (It wasn’t a good goal, but the one Sportsnet replay I’ve watched a few times appeared to show Mikael Backlund’s shot dip on him.) He and Jack Campbell have combined to post a .926 save percentage, which is on one hand remarkably clutch amidst widespread difficulties in other areas, and on the other hand, well, they’re still in 31st place. It also looks as if Paul LaDue has found a little bit of a niche. Willie Desjardins had some positive words about his recent play prior to the game, but as a defenseman whose contributions often come on the offensive side of the puck, he’ll also need to produce if he wants to entrench himself in the lineup. He logged over 15 minutes for the first time this season, was on the ice for Kempe’s goal, and potentially could’ve earned an assist had Brown beaten Smith on his third period breakaway.

Gerry Thomas/NHLI

–Lead photo via Gerry Thomas/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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