Anze Kopitar named NHL’s First Star of the Week

The National Hockey League announced today that Kings forward and captain Anze Kopitar has been named as the league’s first star for the week from the opening week of the 2021-22 season.

Kopitar tallied seven total points (4-3-7) from two games played, including a hat trick and five points on Opening Night against Vegas. On a league-wide level, no player has more goals or points than Kopitar, who also ranked tied for sixth in assists.

Kopitar’s five points (3-2-5) on Opening Night were an LA Kings franchise record in a season opener. He also became the 3rd player in Kings history to record a hat trick in a season opener, joining Luc Robitaille (1988) & Jari Kurri (1991). Furthermore, he became the fourth player in Kings history to collect a hat trick in the team’s first home game of the season.

Kopitar, on collecting five points on Opening Night
You just try to stay in the moment, you try not to think about too much. Just play, like I said, it was the first game of the season and we wanted to get off to a good start and get the two points in the bank and go from there.

Todd McLellan on Kopitar’s season debut
When your captain can come out and play that type of game tonight, it sets the tone for everybody. It’s funny, I talked to our guys during camp, I’ve only been in training camp with this group really for one year and half the time, I didn’t even know who I was talking to. I didn’t know if Kopi, Brownie, Doughty, some of these other players were having good or bad training camps, they didn’t produce points in the exhibition season, but they were getting themselves ready. It’s pretty clear that they were getting themselves prepared to play. Happy for them, happy for us.

From the league’s official release –

NEW YORK (Oct. 18, 2021) – Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 17.

Kopitar tallied a League-leading seven points (four goals, three assists) in two games last week, helping the Kings split a pair of contests. He opened the campaign with a record-setting performance Thursday, scoring his fifth NHL hat trick and matching his single-game career high with five points as the Kings defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 6-2 at STAPLES Center. He recorded the most points by a King on opening night in franchise history; became the third player in franchise history with a hat trick in a season-opening game, joining Luc Robitaille (Oct. 6, 1988) and Jari Kurri (Oct. 4, 1991); and, at 34 years and 51 days, became the oldest player in League history with five points in a season opener. He eclipsed the previous mark set by Phil Esposito (31 years, 232 days) on Oct. 10, 1973 (w/ BOS). The Kings captain completed the week by figuring in both of his team’s goals (one goal, one assist) in a 3-2 home loss to Minnesota Saturday.

The 34-year-old Jesenice, Slovenia, native was the Kings’ top pick, 11th overall, in the 2005 NHL Draft and is skating in his 16th season with the club. Kopitar led the Kings in scoring in 2020-21 (13-37—50 in 56 GP), topping the club for the 13th time in the past 14 seasons. He ranks among the franchise’s top five all-time in games (2nd, 1,131); goals (4th, 350); assists (3rd, 657); points (4th, 1,007) and game-winning goals (3rd, 57).

The Kings are traveling to Nashville today, so no practice updates to come. We will share an interview with Luc Robitaile plus the first Angeles Analysis of the regular season later on today!

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