There are still questions about Anze Kopitar. A month ago, the questions were, “Is Kopitar ready to play? Is he 100 percent?’’ Now, the questions are, “How many points can Kopitar put up? Will he be recognized as an elite NHL center this season?’’ If the first two games of the season are any indication — and yes, it’s still terribly early — the answers, respectively, would seem to be, “Yes, yes, a lot and yes.’’
Kopitar was downright dominant for long stretches of the Kings’ season-opening victory over the New York Rangers, with a goal and an assist, and in Saturday’s loss to Buffalo, he scored the Kings’ two goals. Nothing is a bigger relief for coach Terry Murray and the Kings than to see Kopitar healthy and performing.
MURRAY: “He’s healthy, he’s raring to go. He’s strong. He got a couple goals (against Buffalo) and he made a real strong play on the second goal. He played a lot of minutes in a lot of heavy traffic. They pay attention to him. They’ve got big defensemen who leaned on him, and he has come through the two games great.’’
Kopitar had career highs of 34 goals and 81 points in 2009-10, and for him to be known as an elite center, he will have to bump up that point total a bit. So far, through the preseason and first two regular-season games, Kopitar has displayed great chemistry with right winger Justin Williams — a regular linemate in the past two seasons — and has also looked solid alongside left winger Simon Gagne.