Waking up with the Kings: October 19 - LA Kings Insider

The Kings faced a desperate Montreal Canadiens team at the end of their home-heavy slate to open the season and ultimately turned a 1-1 game into a 5-1 win by sticking to their game and continuing to demonstrate that they’ll generate their own share of chances by continuing to check well in their own end. That’s somewhat broad considering there were 152 combined shot attempts on Wednesday night, but in the third period, with the game tied, Montreal, stuck on one win this season, became stretched out and began to cede a number of odd-man chances. On the game-winning goal, potted by Adrian Kempe on a two-on-one, the Habs had numbers deep in the offensive zone during a press for offense. It wasn’t the most patient approach. The third period outburst, which contained Adrian Kempe’s first career hat trick, began taking shape with a concerted second period push and resulted in both Kempe and Michael Cammalleri recording four-point nights. With Jeff Carter injured one-third of the way through the game, and Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown kept off the scoresheet, Los Angeles received the depth scoring and contributions that hadn’t been there consistently through the first five games of the season. With that said, don’t mistake Kopitar and Brown’s quiet night for an “off” performance – the two were dominant territorially five-on-five and softened up the opposition, allowing other contributors to make their mark on the game. Alex Iafallo, again, was an impact playing in digging pucks free below the goal line and distributing them towards high-danger areas, as intended in the team’s evolved systems.

Harry How/Getty Images

Speaking of the individual performances beyond Kempe and Cammalleri, there were several others that stuck out. The patiently beautiful Kempe goal on the angled breakaway was a strong representation of the team’s willingness to move the puck quickly out of their zone and transition through the neutral zone with good pace. It began with Jake Muzzin shoveling the puck along the boards, allowing both Trevor Lewis and Tanner Pearson to make plays while weathering contact to advance the puck. Pearson may only have one empty-net goal and two assists in six games, but his game remains at a high level and it’s easy to see his actual production catching up to the little things he’s been doing to help his team win hockey games. Whether screening the goaltender or making quick, pace-accentuating decisions with the puck – or, in yesterday’s case, being willing to absorb a heavy hit to make a play – his game has been humming along. The points will come. There needs to be a nickname for Oscar Fantenberg, because he’s been Fanta-tastic in showing good versatility and exuding confidence in high-tension situations. He’s much more than a pacey defenseman capable of exchanging the puck up ice and plays with good jam to his game for a first year player (who does have good professional experience).

Harry How/Getty Images

Carter’s injury will be a significant blow to this team that will allow other teams to key in on Kopitar’s line and remove potential points from the standings. Do not underestimate this, even though Carter hadn’t yet made a profound mark in the points column early in the season. Strong center depth is so crucial to success in the NHL, and one of Los Angeles’ top strengths – the presence of Kopitar and Carter as 1 and 1-A options – will be greatly diminished as he recovers. Jonathan Quick has been very good to start the season, but his .950 save percentage is completely unsustainable. Given the blow to the center position, the stiffening of the schedule and the law of averages ready to pounce on Quick’s strong start, the immediate futures for this team are worrying. Can Peter Budaj play center?

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

-Lead photo via 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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