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

The Washington Capitals can both score and allow goals, and in an entertaining display of up-and-down playmaking, out-skilled and out-buried the LA Kings in the type of track meet game the visitors would have hoped to avoid. Los Angeles experienced defensive zone and transition lapses, but let’s face it, there was a pretty significant skill discrepancy on the ice; Washington has a good collection of high, high end forwards. Evgeny Kuznetsov, clearly threatened by Derek Forbort staking a claim as the most dynamic player from the 2010 draft – my word, that assist! – was back to his worldly zone entering and playmaking proficiency and was as dangerous as any opposing player in any game this season. The Kings didn’t help themselves out when Michael Amadio was whistled for a hook on a backcheck two minutes in, allowing Alex Ovechkin to set up in his office and wrist a puck from a sharp angle through Jonathan Quick. Quick wasn’t his best, and that was the most stoppable goal that he allowed on Monday, but that’s also Ovechkin’s 38th, and when you have 38 goals you’re very much capable of beating good goalies even when you don’t get your A-1 hammer on net. Credit the Kings for showing the resilience that served as a theme on the 3-2-1 trip and answering both Capitals goals with goals of their own before taking the lead on another Oscar Fantenberg long range shot early in the second. From there, Washington struck three times over the remainder of the second period, where they now lead the NHL with 74 goals, ultimately setting the stage for an anticlimactic end that followed a captivating opening 30 minutes of hockey.

Patrick McDermott/NHLI

Austin Wagner scored on his first shift, less than five minutes into the game – and then logged only one shift for the rest of the first period, nine and a half minutes later. There was a penalty kill and a power play in there, but that’s still strange. That was the Kings’ fourth line scoring against the Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Wilson line. On a breakout, Wagner confidently protected the puck, pulling it back behind a lurking Kuznetsov before issuing a diagonal outlet right onto the stick of Trevor Lewis. He dropped the puck for Clifford, whose purposeful end boards carom found an unexpectedly activating Forbort. His, um, no-look, between-the-legs drop to the crease was snapped home by Wagner. Perhaps there were efforts to shield Wagner from some of the highest-end players should those scenarios develop, but Wagner made a really poised play to keep possession of the puck from one of the game’s more skilled players and also scored later in the game when that same Capitals line was on the ice. In this game, Kyle Clifford was 21 CF/5 CA, and Lewis and Wagner finished 18 CF/5 CA, and all three were on the ice for both goals against the Kuznetsov line and no goals against.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

There was good fight and mettle in this game, the last of a six-game trip. There wasn’t a great deal of travel once the team was already on the east coast, but the physical wear and tear, while palpable this time of year, isn’t quite as cumbersome as the mental drain. This team has been through a lot this season. They played their way out of the playoffs a month into the season. There have been slogs – and then there have been slogs. They embarked on this trip having traded away someone who had been their best defensemen on a good number of nights this year, and they still found ways to win hockey games and put themselves in position to win in difficult buildings. The Kings aren’t going to finish in 31st place in the league, but this current spot is probably around where they’ll lay. It’s the most disappointing year by any real measure, and the number of goals they allowed on the trip, especially in the wake of the loss of Muzzin, as well as Thompson, who was more inclined to start a shift in the defensive zone than any other King, is concerning. But they showed their battle on this trip and a good commitment to practicing and playing with better structure and detail, even if Monday’s game got plenty loose.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

–Lead photo via Patrick McDermott/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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