Waking up with the Kings: December 3 - LA Kings Insider

For a zero-zero cross-conference non-rivalry game between the 31st place team and a team just outside of the playoff bubble, there was some underrated watchability for most of the first 58 scoreless minutes of Sunday’s home stand opener against Carolina. If you dismiss the whistles – which was hard, because there were 72 faceoffs – there were good chances snuffed out at both ends of the ice, but as the minutes expired, those chances were directed more frequently at an excellent Jonathan Quick than they were at Petr Mrazek, who held his own in a compelling goaltending duel. Quick was fantastic and a prime reason why Los Angeles came away with two points, and his fingertip blocker save on Brock McGinn in the second period is an immediate inclusion to his pantheon of great saves. Drew Doughty’s emotion after Thursday’s Edmonton game made it clear that the team would have a discussion about getting a win for Quick, and that appeared to be a motivator — along with the obvious need to get two points — for the group on Sunday. “Obviously that was a pretty emotional one,” Alec Martinez said after the game. “I think, if anything, you wanted to do it for Quickie because Jonathan Quick was simply outstanding. I’ve seen that guy play a lot of really good hockey and that game was certainly up there, so if for nothing else, do it for him.”

Harry How/Getty Images

One of the topics upstairs during the first period was whether Carolina was suffering through some early-trip jetlag after arriving on the West Coast. Los Angeles came out strong through the first 18 minutes, banking on quality looks from Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli that were rebuffed by Mrazec. Despite a late Hurricanes flurry that forced Jonathan Quick into difficult saves, the Kings still led in shots on goal after one, 13-12. They finished with a 35-34 lead after 60 minutes, an indication that they did a good job executing a structured game plan, considering Carolina’s league-leading shot differential. The Hurricanes, who will shoot from just about anywhere, missed the net 15 times and had 20 shots blocked, so they still comfortably won the possession battle, but as Willie Desjardins noted after the game, Los Angeles did a good job limiting the opposition’s stretch passes and making sure defense didn’t have ample opportunity to jump into plays, even if they benefited from a pair of Sebastian Aho flubs on one-time attempts in which he had ample net to shoot at. Again, the Canes had a wide discrepancy in shot attempts that also evolved into the majority of regular and high-danger chances, per Natural Stat Trick, but ran into a Quickie Being Quickie night.

Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

In earning the win, Los Angeles had to stare down its nemesis: a third period penalty kill. This kill evolved into an extended five-on-three when Toffoli joined Kyle Clifford in the box, and nearly stung the Kings when Jordan Staal had an excellent opportunity from the slot on the type of one-time look that had buried the Kings in recent home games against Colorado and Vancouver. But Quick came out to Flower Street to challenge Staal, kept the puck out of his net, and made another high-impact save later in the kill en route to the 50th shutout of his career. A three-for-three performance marked only the fourth time in the last 11 games that L.A. emerged from a game unscathed while shorthanded, and given the scripts that had been written in their previous two losses and the need to get wins by any means necessary – but also get Quick his first win of the season – they forged ahead with an emotional kill that set the stage for Alec Martinez to score off a drawn up play in which Kopitar won a faceoff before Dustin Brown claimed the puck and fed Jake Muzzin, who issued a pinpoint pass for the game-winning redirection.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

–Lead photo via Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

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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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