Can they recapture the magic? - LA Kings Insider

So far this season, Terry Murray has used nine different first-line combinations at the starts of games. He began with Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Andrei Loktionov replaced Smyth. Brad Richardson replaced Loktionov. Scott Parse replaced Richardson. Richardson reclaimed his spot after Parse’s injury. Dwight King replaced Richardson. Wayne Simmonds moved up, and Brown moved to left wing. Justin WIlliams replaced Simmonds. Richardson came back, and Brown went back to right wing. Marco Sturm replaced Richardson. Simmonds replaced Sturm, and Brown moved again…then moved again, when Alexei Ponikarovsky replaced Simmonds.

Got all that?

Now, the Kings go for No. 1 Line, version 10.0, with Kopitar centering Smyth and Williams. That’s the line that had great success at the start of last season, got derailed by injuries to Smyth and Williams and then was unable to recapture the magic late in the season. This season, Smyth, Williams and Kopitar rank first, third and fourth, respectively, in goals for the Kings, so Murray is looking for a spark.

MURRAY: “We’ve got to get some wins on the board, and you’re trying to find something that’s going to be the catalyst to get it going right now. I’d like to think that that could be a good look. I’m hoping it is. We’ll see, obviously, in a couple days, when we start playing again. There was nothing that I was upset about with Zeus on that (Smyth-Williams) line or with Kopi and Brownie. In fact, I like Kopi and Brownie. They’ve had a great start to the season, a great month of December. They put up some good numbers, but again, it’s to get a different look at some lines, and hopefully get some good energy coming as a result of it.”

The move is fine by Kopitar. Last season, from the opening game until Nov. 16, when Smyth suffered an injury, the Smyth-Kopitar-Williams line played 22 games together. In that span, Kopitar had 14 goals and 18 assists, Smyth had nine goals and 14 assists, and Williams had five goals and 10 assists. So, Kopitar wasn’t really surprised when the line was reunited in practice today.

KOPITAR: “It comes and goes, I guess, with Terry. He has shown that he’s not afraid to mix the lines. Now, putting us together again, hopefully we can produce and hopefully we can stay together for a longer period of time.”

The moves, Murray said, were not a reflection on Brown, who moves off the first line after playing there for the first 42 games, either on left wing or right wing. Brown is tied for the team lead with 17 goals and is third on the team with 34 points.

MURRAY: “I talked to him before the practice today. He understands what coaches do, with moving lines around and looking for different combinations that are going to be the spark to get something going. He agreed, he understood, when I spoke with him this morning. I spoke to Zeus about it before the practice. Everybody understands what is happening.”

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


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.