Waking Up With The Kings: January 1 - LA Kings Insider

With last night’s overtime victory over Colorado, the Kings now have earned wins from five of their last six games and points from six of their last seven. The team picked up the two points in the opening test of a very tricky three-in-four set, which continues tonight in Las Vegas and concludes on Thursday against the NHL’s points leader, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last night’s victory saw signs of a vintage Kings victory – Anze Kopitar was buzzing all night and assisted on both of his team’s regulation goals. Drew Doughty played more than half the game (30:28) and scored a power-play goal, while Dustin Brown scored another goal in a big situation. Jonathan Quick had a solid 22-save night, providing timely saves when needed. And while it may not be the formula for sustainable, long-term success, the Kings felt after the game that they are finally getting back to being a team takes care of its own end, and does a fine job of doing so. Los Angeles has allowed 13 goals over its last six games, nearly a goal per game less than their season average. I think Drew Doughty summed things up pretty well after last night’s game –

“I think if you play well defensively, and your intentions are to do the right things, you’re going to get more wins than you’re not,” he said. “You can kind of not be great offensively, and get a win, but if you’re not going to be great defensively, you’re going to lose the game no matter what. We seem to know how to play good defense in here, and if we keep doing that we’ll get more wins.”

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 31: Sheldon Dries #15 of the Colorado Avalanche battles for position against Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center on December 31, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Looking at the blueline, Doughty was his usual self, finding the scoresheet and carrying the load on the blueline. Jake Muzzin collected the assist on Brown’s goal and tied for the team lead with four blocked shots, along with Derek Forbort, who logged more than 22 minutes. Dion Phaneuf was solid in his return to the lineup and then…there’s the series of emotions that can be used to describe Sean Walker’s evening. Walker appeared to open the scoring in the first period, taking a feed from Adrian Kempe and firing a wrist shot past Semyon Varlamov for what would have been his first career NHL goal, only to see it wiped out for goalie interference. After another period had passed by, Walker accomplished the first NHL goal feat for the second time, scoring on what he described as his “first wraparound goal, ever.” “It was definitely a roller coaster, pretty high and then pretty low and then luckily I got the other one, so it was good,” Walker added.

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 31: Goaltender Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche makes a save against Sean Walker #61 of the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center on December 31, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

So what’s next? The Kings have elevated out of the NHL’s basement, moving from 31st, all the way to a tie for 28th. Progress! Los Angeles finished off the month of December at 7-5-2 and begins January against the only blemish from its last six games, the Golden Knights. Vegas skated to a 4-1 win at STAPLES Center just three days prior, though the Kings hold a 2-1 record in this season’s series. The Golden Knights have lost just once in their last 11 games and posted a 9-3-3 record in December. A big test in an all too familiar building awaits tonight’s at 6. We’ll hear from Willie Desjardins prior to the game and will share news from that here if there is any.

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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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