Waking up with the Kings: October 29 - LA Kings Insider

In an equinox of offense, the LA Kings fell into several familiar traps Sunday afternoon at Staples Center but banked on two power play goals and two rush goals to will out a much-needed win. As much as this team could use some juju – they’re in last place in the West and Jonathan Quick is hurt – they need actual points and picked two up at the outset of a home stand that they’ll have to take advantage of if they want to jump back into the pack early in the season. In a carbon copy of several recent first periods, they jumped out to a fast start and generated early scoring chances that Henrik Lundqvist denied before the Rangers opened the scoring with another grind-type goal that wasn’t vastly different from the style of goal scored on Campbell that opened the scoring in Minnesota. And then they started getting power play chances while trailing in the second period, and Dustin Brown and Ilya Kovalchuk went to work, and the first home team of the busy day held serve.

Noah Graham/NHLI

Five seconds after Jeff Carter won the faceoff resulting from Cody McLeod’s slashing penalty, Dustin Brown screened Henrik Lundqvist on an Ilya Kovalchuk slapshot from the outside of the right circle. Lundqvist made the save, but it was representative of what was to come and the beginning of a surge of power play momentum that brought Los Angeles level. Brown weathered a breath or two but surprisingly no real resistance prior to tapping in Kovalchuk’s rebound, and was right back in Lundqvist’s personal space when Kovalchuk hammered in a Drew Doughty offering from the tops of the circles. He shot wide on a breakaway and issued seven hits and ripped and reared out of the gates after a week in which he stood over his golf shot, waiting with excruciating patience for his LTIR stay to run out. Lest we get too caught up in narratives, it does appear the Kings have a stronger identity with Brown in the lineup, and while that’s a flighty and, frankly, obvious thing to say, it did appear as though they were able to get more bodies and pucks to the net consistently Sunday than in any other game this season. Brown contributes significantly on that front.

Noah Graham/NHLI

Those bodies and pucks to the net were evident in the first of the team’s two go-ahead goals. It was also a reward for playing fast as Jack Campbell headmanned the puck up to Ila Kovalchuk, who sprinted through the neutral zone before turning to Adrian Kempe and issuing the puck laterally across the zone. Both Lewis and Kovalchuk dragged their men towards the net right as Kempe shot the puck, providing the type of second chance that hadn’t necessarily readily been there while the team was in its one-goal-a-game funk. The Kings still had their rough spots – they fell behind by two goals in the first half of the game for the sixth time in their last seven games, and were facing a stiff Rangers push late in the third – and it’s concerning that they’re not going to have Jonathan Quick’s services during such an important home stand. But they won the net-front battle, won the special teams battle and scored a pair of rush goals as they’ve taken steps towards getting their team game in order. By winning those variables against a team with its own set of challenges early in the season, the Kings, even a little bit against the run of play at the time, benefited from an Alec Martinez snapper through Brendan Smith’s legs that caught Henrik Lundqvist reaching with under a minute left for an important home win.

Noah Graham/NHLI

-Lead photo via Noah Graham/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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