Waking up with the Kings: February 24 - LA Kings Insider

Has there been any other recent game that so accurately served as an archetype of the 2016-17 season? The Kings were the better team. They limited zone time, possession, and had the majority of the even strength chances. The opponent scored early in the first period, necessitating a game of catch-up, after a Jake Muzzin mishandled puck. The Kings dominated the second period but were outscored 1-0 when Peter Budaj let in a soft goal. Anze Kopitar continued his relentless, season-long assault on the goalposts, and Dustin Brown, Kevin Gravel and Jeff Carter also caught iron. This could easily be a Waking up with the Kings from any month of the season. Los Angeles lost a winnable game because it was unable to play with the lead at any point, and this, too, is becoming a trend. Credit Zdeno Chara for tying up Carter on a high-grade scoring opportunity shortly prior to Brad Marchand’s goal, and again, credit the goalpost for getting most of Kopitar’s chance on a Grade-A opportunity that would have given the home team the lead early in the second. That L.A. was unable to score in a territorially dominant second period in which they pinned Boston back in its own end for long stretches was a key factor in the loss. There are two teams on the ice, and the Bruins also deserve recognition for forging ahead with a tight third period in which they relied on their familiar checking and defensive tendencies while keeping the Kings from establishing any sort of an offensive rhythm or up-tempo, paced attack.

Harry How/Getty Images

Darryl Sutter was asked last night whether there was any single one factor that gave him more concern over anything else, and without hesitation he responded, “Yes. Production from the top end. Absolutely, 100%.” When Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson aren’t scoring, and other reliable scores are failing to generate consistent offense – Anze Kopitar has one assist and a minus-nine rating in his last eight games – there’s just not enough scoring depth to pick up the slack, and for the 20th time this season the Kings failed to score two goals. It’s not an “effort” thing, it’s not a “lack of interest” thing or anything that has to do with the makeup of the dressing room or the constitution inherent in it. This is simply a team that does not have enough skill in its bottom six, and when key players go through dry spells, as several have for long stretches of the season, it will be challenged to score. Los Angeles has been held without a five-on-five goal in five of its last nine games.

Harry How/Getty Images

Some positives! Adrian Kempe issued a nice dish to set up Kevin Gravel on the power play, took three shots on goal and didn’t look out of place in 12:45 of ice time. And, for Gravel, it’s always a pleasure to see a player score his first career NHL goal. It was part of an assertive night for Gravel, who finished with his second-highest TOI total of the season and exuded confidence – though I’m not sure that was ever really an issue – since stepping back into the lineup. But if the Kings are to climb back into the playoff picture – SportsClubStats.com now gives them a 49.7% chance (this means very little, though its fluctuations are interesting to cite this time of the year) at making the postseason – the “positives” section of WUWTK needs to be a list of feats by Kopitar, Toffoli, Gaborik, et al, and not rookies in depth-type roles.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

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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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