In a traditionally unfriendly building, a familiar face - LA Kings Insider

There are certain streaks and records in opposing buildings that are simply hard to explain. When Los Angeles plays in Montreal next week, it’ll be referenced that the Kings average roughly one win every 5.4 seasons in their French Canadian (er, Canadien) house of horrors. Ditto for several teams’ histories in Los Angeles, like Pittsburgh, Florida and Ottawa.

The First Niagara Center – and prior to that, the Memorial Auditorium – have not been kind to the Kings. Los Angeles is 1-11-1 with a tie in its last 14 visits to Buffalo, having been outscored 30-8 during a six-game road losing streak at the First Niagara Center. The one win over that 13-game span, which dates back to 1993-94, was a 4-1 victory on February 21, 2003, a game in which Ziggy Palffy and Brian Smolinski each scored twice.

When the Kings visited last season, Jhonas Enroth, who will start tonight for Los Angeles, posted a 34-save shutout in a 1-0 Sabres win.

If you were to ask Darryl Sutter about those types of streaks – having done so several years ago, I wouldn’t recommend it – he’d say they’re meaningless records as personnel and staffs evolve. Alec Martinez would be of that mindset as well.

“I think that there are certainly some buildings that are really tough to play in,” he said. “There’s a few that come to mind – being in Detroit, Calgary, things like that – that if you look at the stats over the years, we’ve had a hard time in. At the end of the day, it’s the same situation. It’s a hockey game. I guess I wouldn’t really read into it that much. Buffalo has had a good club the past however many years. Regardless, a road game is hard regardless of where you are.”

Tonight’s game has an interesting wrinkle as Los Angeles will face a Buffalo team which relies on former Kings coach Terry Murray as an assistant coach. Murray, who was fired four years ago to the day but is widely credited for installing the identity and defensive systems that have been accentuated during the team’s rise to success under Sutter, will counter the team for the first time since his tenure with the organization.

“Yeah, for sure he’s a big part of [the team’s recent success],” Martinez said. “When I broke into the league, he was the coach and he was really good for me and really good to me. You’re always appreciative of that coach that gives you the opportunity to play in the league. But it’s good to see him. Good to see him here.”

Alec Martinez, on how Los Angeles prepares to face Buffalo:
I think it’s important to look at personnel. Make sure that you’re familiar with guys that you don’t play against very often. They’ve got a couple new guys that we’ve never played against before. I think that’s important. I think you’ve got to have a good understanding of their system. I think the one thing that we do have going for us is that we’ve played some teams in the east as of late that have similar styles. I’d say that they have a similar style to Pittsburgh where they’ve got a lot of high-powered offense, a lot of D that can move the puck and they generate a lot of their chances off the rush. So I think we’ve got to do a good job of weathering that. As D-men, we’ve got to have tight gaps and as forwards too, getting that back pressure. It’s going to be a big focus for us.

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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.