October 30 morning skate notes: 700 for Doughty, Holiday Ice, Kings-Blues styles - LA Kings Insider

Good afternoon from downtown St. Louis, Insiders. There’s a really good game on FOX Sports West between the Kings (9-1-1) and Blues (9-2-1) tonight, with pre-game coverage beginning at 4:30 p.m. PT. Los Angeles is expected to ice the following lineup:



-Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate and is expected to start. Center Nick Shore, who has dealt with an undisclosed injury on the road trip, and defenseman Oscar Fantenberg, who missed Saturday’s game in Boston with back spasms, skated together during rushes and remained on the ice for extra work.

-Time flies: Drew Doughty will play in his 700th career NHL game tonight. “700 games is pretty crazy, and to be able to do it with the same team is even cooler,” he said. “It’s an exciting time for me, but when the puck drops, I won’t be thinking about that anymore. I’m just going out there to try and get a win. We’ve had a good road trip thus far, but it’s not over, and we’ve got to win tonight.”

-Speaking of the road trip, there’s some historical context involved. Surprisingly, though the team went 5-0-0 in a five-game trip in 2009-10, their best record in a six-game trip is 4-2-0, accomplished in 1986-87 and 1988-89. At the very least, they’ll equal that tonight. And while the team won’t be able to match the best month in club history – that’s 22 points, set with an 11-3-0 record in January, 2002 – with one point they’ll break the record for the most points earned in October, set by the 1990-91 team (9-3-1). The most wins Los Angeles has ever recorded in any month is 11, set by the 2001-02 club (January) and the 2013-14 club (March).

-The team announced today that there are three Holiday Ice locations across the Southland:

-The Pike Outlets: 95 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach 90802
Opens: November 17; Closes: January 7
-Westfield Topanga: 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills 91367
Opens: November 17; Closes: January 14
-L.A. LIVE: 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles 90015
Opens: November 25; Closes: TBD

Visit LAKings.com/HolidayIce for more information.

-The Kings and Blues are, once again, structured similarly. Both teams have accentuated their pace and speed in recent years and will encourage a mobile set of defensemen to join the rush. This is, of course, different from the war-of-attrition rivalry from earlier this decade that spawned a 2013 playoff series in which the teams combined for 479 hits in six games.

“These are some of the most fun games in the league, playing this team,” Doughty said. “It’s a battle out there. It’s a playoff game every single time. They have a very similar system to us and very similar personnel, so it’s a lot of fun. It’s just a battle, really.”

The trend towards tempo and speed is not limited to Los Angeles and St. Louis. The game has sped up, and with it came several teams that were more associated with a “heavier” game.

“I think the whole league is kind of going that way,” Alec Martinez said. “You look at Pittsburgh winning the last couple years, that’s the way they play. And I know that they’re in the east and the west is still a little bit different, but I think that the west is maybe kind of going to an adaptation, maybe of what a combo of what the ‘old’ west was and what the east is. You definitely take notice.”

It’s resulted in 13 goals from a St. Louis defense that continues to rely heavily on Alex Pietrangelo. The familiar right-shot defenseman has four goals and 12 points thus far and ranks eight hin the league with an average ice time of 25:49 per game.

“In order to be successful in this league, that’s what you need,” Martinez continued. “You need the D getting up in the play. I think if you look at all the successful teams as of late, they generate a lot off the rush, and I think St. Louis is definitely a team that’s doing that and what we’re trying to do, too, so it’ll be a good match-up tonight.”

There’s also the element of “will.” The more intangible base of Los Angeles’ win at Boston on Saturday was evident in the second to last shift of the third period when Anze Kopitar’s line was clearly not sitting back and clearly pushing for a win in regulation. Tonight, they’ll face a team that has outscored opponents 11-4 in first periods and hasn’t lost in any fashion at Scottrade Center, going 4-0-0.

“You’ve got to know coming into this building that they’ve historically had very, very good starts here,” Martinez said. “We’ve been on the receiving end of that a lot, between regular season and playoff series against ‘em. I think it’s just a mindset and being sharp and executing on that mindset at the beginning of the game.”

Jonathan Quick factors into any discussion of “will.” Two games after he earned his 46th career shutout in his 500th career start, the Kings will need a similar backing, especially on the final game of a six-game trip against a team with a similar record. He’s been very good in this building before.

“St. Louis is a team that even though it doesn’t seem like we have a lot of history, we feel the history against that team in the room,” Doughty said. “Like I said, it’s a battle every time. Every time we play St. Louis, you remember that game because it was such a hard game to play in. I know they’re feeling the same way. It’s hard to play against us, too. It’s fun playing against them. It’s the first game of the season. We have to show them that we’re for real, and I think they’re at the top of the league too right now, so it’s a big game and whoever wins this first one has the edge going into the rest of the season.”

-Lead photo via Scott Rovak/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


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.