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

Saturday’s game was an exhibition of systematic proficiency between two similar teams that worked the X’s and O’s down to a science and were ultimately separated by a third period Chris Kelly deflection that was awarded following video review. It matters little to the Kings, who were awarded zero points following one of their stronger performances of the season. But from the way Los Angeles executed its game plan, the Kings were very good. They didn’t allow many chances down the center of the ice, they relied on their heavy style of play and gradually emerged as the superior puck possession team through a standout third period in which they dictated the run of play. Against a lesser team, that’s a road Kings win. Against the Boston Bruins, who are healthy again and predictably rising up through the Atlantic Division standings, it was a performance that could have been good enough for at least one point, and perhaps two. Park and ride, as they say.

Los Angeles Kings v Boston Bruins

If you’re looking for an example of plus/minus being a completely useless statistic if not supplied with any context, look at Tyler Toffoli’s performance last night. Toffoli, a minus-three on the score sheet, was making a lot of little plays with the puck to help set up his teammates; he was competitive along the boards, in the neutral and defensive zones, and drew iron on a short side attempt while the Kings trailed by one goal early in the third. He said he was “getting there” when I asked him yesterday if he was back to 100%, and even if he’s not quite where he wants to be conditioning-wise, he has been one of the club’s best forwards in his two games back. With Tanner Pearson injured and the scoring balance spread throughout the lineup, the Kings need him to produce.

Los Angeles Kings v Boston Bruins

Saturday’s game was a Let ‘Em Play game, with one minor penalty issued to each side and Darryl Sutter noting that it was “just an honest game” when speaking to the media after the loss. Though Boston doesn’t have the same forecheck that St. Louis has, last night’s game reminded me of a Kings-Blues game at the Scottrade Center – not one of the more volatile, Kings-Blues games that coincidentally have produced higher scores at Staples Center – in which a tied game would inevitably be broken open by a third period marker with around six minutes to go, perhaps off the stick of Jeff Carter while on the power play. But there weren’t many power play opportunities to be had, and Carter, like Anze Kopitar, has only two road goals this season. If you’re looking for a partial explanation towards the Kings’ struggles away from home, it’s because top players haven’t scored big goals. Like the special teams home-road splits, there’s likely some natural progression bound to occur in top players’ road production over the remainder of the regular season.

Los Angeles Kings v Boston Bruins

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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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