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

The LA Kings banked on a familiar script to beat the Winnipeg Jets by blitzing through them in the first period to take a 2-0 lead before calling on their goaltender to carry them home in a one-goal win. Like the game in Manitoba one month prior, the ice was tilted and the score could have been wider than two if not for the Jets’ continued goaltending sustenance. Joakim Ryan’s missile and Nikolai Prokhorkin’s putback could have easily been joined by any number of prime scoring chances created early by the Carter-Toffoli combination, or Clifford and Lewis around Prokhorkin, a testament to the four-line rotation that served the team well in a game bereft of power play time. That changed as the game progressed; one team isn’t going to step all over another for 60 minutes, and credit Winnipeg for generating a heavy momentum shift around their second period power plays. But Los Angeles was up by two goals heading into the third period, a scenario that will result in a win roughly 90% of the time. The Jets used the full ice after winning a defensive zone draw to pull within one, and though Mark Scheifele had multiple chances as the visitors got their legs going over the second half of the game, Campbell denied his late Grade-A looks from the slot and, of course, his one-on-one point-blank backhand as time expired. It resulted in the Kings’ record in silver alternate jerseys – with or without the gold trim – improving to 25-11-0. Maybe the Taylor Swift banner should’ve been made out of them.

Harry How/Getty Images

We’re all waiting for some more road data. Their most recent returns haven’t been great, but the San Jose game was a toss-away-the-tape type of game, according to Todd McLellan, who on Saturday morning articulated the challenges of making sense of a game in which they had momentum yet trailed, 3-0, having allowed single-digit shots. “It was just one of the most bizarre games I think that I’ve been involved in – like, it was just strange,” he said. The Arizona game before that wasn’t very good. But with 11 of the next 14 on the road, there’s finally enough sample size where they’ll be able to regularly send out their depth without benefit of last change and get a more complete view of what they have at their disposal. “I think it’ll be a great evaluating tool for management, for the coaching staff and for the players,” McLellan said. “Personal evaluation and team evaluation – where do I fit now in the league? We’re a third done, and it’s time to reflect a little bit.” Los Angeles has been quite good at home, but Saturday’s game was their first of 11 home games during a 35-game stretch that concludes when these teams wrap up their season series at Winnipeg on February 18.

Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire

The Kings’ play has largely been structured and committed and appears relatively healthy. There are holes and depth challenges; even amidst a nice little penalty killing run, their special teams have been poor and their goaltending inconsistent. But they’ve shown – at home, at least – an ability to match up well against those above them in the standings and whose play trended well entering Staples Center. Their .922 5×5 save percentage ranked 15th in the league in November, and while that’s a middle-of-the-road number, it’s a stark improvement from their 28th-best 5×5 rate in October and a major influence in their 7-5-2 record this past month. Their opponent on Monday, Anaheim, was 3-6-4 in November largely due to a save percentage that uncharacteristically dipped to .909 in five-on-five play. “Out of the group of the three teams, San Jose, L.A. and Anaheim were probably in that order by how they’re playing,” Barry Trotz said after the New York Islanders completed their California swing. There are no easy nights in the NHL, and certainly not for teams in 28th place. But there’s a good test that awaits Monday for a team certainly capable of transferring exactly what they’ve showed at home into more hostile environments.

Harry How/Getty Images

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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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