Waking up with the Kings: February 22 - LA Kings Insider

Oh, hey. I guess it’s time to write about last night’s 2-1 Kings win over the Avalanche. Several abbreviated observations from Tuesday’s game:

-The Kings etched out a very strong 10 minutes to open the game, which featured a power play in which they controlled the puck in the offensive zone for nearly the entire time. It segued into a stretch of roughly three and a half minutes in which did not leave Colorado’s end, save for an icing. Los Angeles could’ve opened up the game with an early lead, but former Seattle Thunderbird star and highly touted goaltending prospect Calvin Pickard performed well in defeat, and when the Kings got into a bit of penalty trouble midway through the first period, the Avs used a momentum surge to generate several high-quality looks, though they missed the net on a few opportunities and Peter Budaj made an excellent sliding, left-pad save on Gabriel Landeskog (see below). Los Angeles’ penalty killing sharpness was a factor in the win.

Michael Martin/NHLI

-Still, Colorado claimed the first lead of the game when Anze Kopitar delayed a breakout rather than pass the puck up to a streaking Dwight King, who had gotten past the Avalanche defense. (He may not have had a clear passing lane, and everything always looks so clear upstairs, doesn’t it?) Instead, he dropped the puck back to Drew Doughty, who had his pocket picked by a red hot Mikko Rantanen. After the young Finn scored on a breakaway, Los Angeles responded quickly on an up-tempo play when Drew Doughty and Adrian Kempe exchanged the puck on a swift give-and-go that was representative of the soft touches Kempe used several times in the game (also see: that little touch to Brayden McNabb later in the period). Doughty found Toffoli, who at full bore made a gutsy move towards the front of the net, where he shot off the pass and relied on a little bit of pinball action as the puck deflected off Pickard’s left pad and in right before Toffoli crashed into the net and dislodged it. Toffoli couldn’t put the game out of reach after Dwight King’s excellent forechecking work on Mark Barberio dislodged the puck and created a Grade-A opportunity midway through the third period, but it was still important for him to resume his scoring and for the Kings to win a game in which neither Jeff Carter nor Tanner Pearson found the back of the net.

Michael Martin/NHLI

-Pearson might not have scored, but he made a very good defensive play to steal a puck in his defensive zone before issuing a banked pass up the left wing boards that hit Trevor Lewis in stride, allowing his teammate to tuck the puck between a sliding Pickard and the near post for the game-winner. The goal came against the run of play, one of Colorado’s heavier stretches of pressure of the game.

Michael Martin/NHLI

-Derek Forbort did another good job of using his reach and his skating ability to get out of trouble and calm plays down. In 20:20 of ice time, which included nearly two and a half minutes of work on the penalty kill, he put three shots on net, finished tied for second on the team with five shot attempts, issued four hits and was credited with two blocked shots. Without waxing too poetically, as I may have when asking Darryl whether last night’s game was representative of the strides he has made this season, he’s shown a lot of what the team had tasked him with improving. It’s interesting – I asked Dean Lombardi about Kevin Gravel on Monday, and whether he will be capable of adding that firmness and snarl to his game, as both he and Darryl Sutter had referenced over the weekend as an important and needed addition to his skill set (the team remains very high on Gravel). Lombardi used Forbort as an example of someone whose jam and hardness may have been questioned earlier in his career, but who has addressed his prior shortcomings encouragingly.

Michael Martin/NHLI

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
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.