Waking up with the Kings: November 27 - LA Kings Insider

In the most dominating game away from Staples Center of the now adolescent NHL season, the Kings dusted off a more familiar road performance and turned a four-goal first period into a boat race on Lake Minnetonka in defeating a very good Wild team, 4-0. Los Angeles practiced what several players had preached throughout the trip in jumping out to an excellent start that led to multiple high-quality chances – including several two-on-ones and rush opportunities – as the first period elapsed. Perhaps it was due to the Kings taking a multi-goal lead in the first period, but Minnesota, a team with excellent structure, uncharacteristically seemed to get numbers deep in the offensive zone and turn the puck over, which led to the surplus of rushes in the opposite direction as Kings forwards got behind the Wild defense. L.A. was also highly opportunistic, scoring four times on the 10 shots Darcy Kuemper faced. But the final goal that the Kings scored, a D-to-D pass from Matt Greene to Brayden McNabb, an outlet feed to Jarret Stoll, and a centering pass to Justin Williams upon entering the zone, practically looked like a line rush drill amongst a unit comprised of five tightly-spaced players working in concert with each other. When it came time to defend the lead, Los Angeles did just that, playing an excellent team defense for the full 60 minutes and locking down the four-goal lead by allowing a dearth of quality chances in front of Martin Jones.

Los Angeles Kings v Minnesota Wild

This was a game in which the possession stats (MIN – 57 attempts; LAK – 41 attempts) would appear to have favored a stronger home performance, but there was very, very little going for Minnesota on Wednesday night. Other than an offensive flurry after having killed an early Los Angeles power play and also while the home team was within two goals, there wasn’t a ton of sustained pressure or a bevy of quality looks generated by the Wild. Make no mistake: the Kings were in control throughout the entirety of the game and were outstanding defensively, capped off by the best performance in net by Martin Jones that we’ve seen in 2014-15. Los Angeles more or less locked this one down after jumping out to a heavy lead and threw the key into… well, Lake Minnetonka has already been referenced, so let’s say “one of the other 9,999 lakes.” Or the Mississippi River. Minnesota was not very good on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Kings v Minnesota Wild

Speaking of Jones, make it 25 career games played for the sophomore – 23 starts – and five shutouts. It was a surprise to see him lead the team onto the ice, but Darryl Sutter’s reasoning to start him two games in a row was completely rational. He wanted to get him a road win, he wanted him to get back-to-back road starts, and he wanted Jonathan Quick to get a near-week’s rest after heavy usage early in the season. It made sense. Even after the game, after hearing Sutter’s decision to start Jones, one reporter responded by saying, “Makes sense.” Given that he’s only a year removed from AHL hockey and played compacted junior hockey schedules, starting on back-to-back nights isn’t really much of a concern for the 24-year-old. A night after he was mostly very sharp against Nashville, he was outstanding through 60 minutes against Minnesota and did make several high quality saves on A-type chances despite the Wild’s less-than-stellar effort.

Happy Thanksgiving, Insiders! I’ll get a preview post up on the blog today, but a reminder: Kings Weekly does air tonight at 10:30 p.m. on FOX Sports West. Don’t eat yourself into a food coma, or you’ll miss it! Let’s talk soon…

Los Angeles Kings v Minnesota Wild

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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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