The Kings returned to the ice today in El Segundo, in advance of their flight later on today, with a four-game road trip beginning tomorrow in Dallas.
Naturally, not the result the Kings wanted last night against Boston, with a 7-0 defeat a rare, high-scoring blemish on an otherwise strong defensive record so far this season. Speaking with Trent Yawney last night, he noted that he probably won’t be rehashing last game a ton with the group this morning. They know.
“I don’t think we’re going to really talk too much about tonight’s game tomorrow, in fact, probably not at all,” he said. “They know. We’re going to have practice like we normally would, and with games coming every other day, that’s what we did prior to this game, we moved on to the next opponent. I don’t see why it should be any different because the score. We’ll get ready for Dallas.”
He referred to last night’s game as a “throw it in the garbage” game, so we can do the same here. It’s one loss that doesn’t count as more than that just because it was by seven goals.
Looking ahead, it’s an intense stretch here for the Kings, who will play 16 games during the month of March, beginning tomorrow versus the Stars. Practices on many days will be short and sweet, as it was today. Not an overly taxing skate, led by Yawney, who is serving as the acting head coach while Todd McLellan remains in COVID Protocol. Yawney has been the lead behind the bench over the last three games versus Anaheim, New York and Boston, with his stay extended at least through this morning.
With that in mind, here’s how the Kings aligned today, with the group set to take off shortly for the Lone Star State –
Iafallo – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Grundstrom – Byfield – Brown
Lemieux – Lizotte – Kaliyev
Anderson-Dolan – Andersson – Athanasiou
Anderson – Doughty
Maatta – Roy
Bjornfot – Durzi
Quick / Petersen
Jaret Anderson-Dolan was recalled earlier today from AHL-Ontario, filling out the roster here in advance of a four-game trip. Lias Andersson skated again in a regular jersey and seems to be approaching a return, though the Anderson-Dolan recall means not just yet. Alex Edler is out longer-term, with his next tangible step being rejoining the full group later this month.
The team did not hold media availability today, considering the flight to Dallas. All quotes below are from previous days, hence no additional reactions to last night’s game beyond Alex Iafallo’s last night.
JAD To The Bone
The Kings made one roster move this morning, as noted above, with Jaret Anderson-Dolan joining the Kings this morning, in advance of the upcoming trip.
Anderson-Dolan has posted some staggering offensive numbers this season, with 21 goals and 37 points through 39 games played this season. Combine that with his versatility both positionally (can play both center and wing) and through his playing style (can fill in on any line and fill just about any role) and he was an obvious choice here. As Reign contributor Jared Shafran pointed out to me this morning, Anderson-Dolan has 11 power-play goals this season, equal to Martin Frk, and has thrived in just about every area of the game at the AHL level.
Ontario Assistant Coach Chris Hajt on Anderson-Dolan
He’s been able to raise his game and he’s been consistent with it and that’s half the battle to playing at a high level for a long period of time. That gets you noticed, that draws the attention of the Kings and you never know where that takes you. All JAD can do is continue to play the way he has and hopefully he gets an opportunity, but for us he’s been terrific and good for him for having that streak. He’s rounding out his offensive game, he’s been a key contributor to the power play unit that’s been so successful, but he plays a 200-foot game as well and he has an ability to play both sides of the puck and he’s just been very consistent.
The natural choice for a recall in this situation, and a well-deserved promotion for Anderson-Dolan.
Two For The Guuinness Book
The LA Kings hit the road today in search of both NHL history and franchise history.
Last night, the Kings tied the second-longest streak in league history for consecutive games outshooting their opponent. We’ll call that the one positive from the defeat. The Kings have outshot their opposition in 21 consecutive games, dating back to January 6 versus Nashville. The Kings have been outshot once in 2022…..once! And that was January 1 versus Philadelphia.
The longest streak in NHL history was set by the New York Rangers during the 1971-72 season, when they outshot their opposition in 22 straight games from October 16 – December 5, 1971. The Kings would tie this mark if they outshoot Dallas tomorrow evening.
The Kings also have collected a point or better in each of their last ten road games (8-0-2), a stretch that has included six consecutive victories. The team now hits the road for four more, with a point or better in Dallas tomorrow evening tying the longest point streak in franchise history away from home, set during the 1974-75 season, when the team collected a point in 11 straight (6-0-5). A victory would also match the best 11-game stretch on the road in Kings history.
When asked, before entering COVID Protocol, Todd McLellan said there’s no “secret recipe” to the team’s success on the road so far this season. He commented, on two different occasions, the importance of utilizing the entire lineup in road games, with the team’s ability to play four lines a big bonus. He also talked about playing to their identity and checking well as keys in those situations.
Now, it’s four straight away from home, all of which with some travel in between. By whatever metric NHL.com sorts by, the Kings rank sixth in road record this season, bringing with them a 15-6-5 record away from home into tomorrow’s game in Dallas, a building that was responsible for one of those 5 overtime defeats, back in October. If you remove that first road trip, however, the Kings have lost just three times in regulation in the 22 games played since.
Pretty, prettttttttty good.
See what I did there?
Though it took a bit of time to come together, the duo of Olli Maatta and Matt Roy have formed an effective, defense-first, second pairing for the LA Kings. While not together at the start of the season, the way things have progressed for the Kings have brought them together as a pair and as of late, they’ve thrived.
Maatta and Roy have logged the team’s second most minutes as a pairing this season, behind just Mikey Anderson and Drew Doughty. They’re controlling just shy of 52 percent of shot attempts overall this season, though since January 1, that number is over 57 percent of attempts controlled.
The pairing is just getting better and better as the games go on, giving Trent Yawney, who runs the defense, a pairing he is comfortable with in all situations.
“With Olli and Royzie, they’re kind of similar in a lot of ways,” Yawney said. “Royzie, offensively, has a few more points this year, but if for whatever reason I can’t get Drew and Mikey out against the other team’s top line, I have no problem getting Olli and Royzie out, and vice versa.”
Speaking with both members, communication is key.
Maatta talked about the strength in communication both on and off the ice as being a main reason for success here, especially as they’ve gotten more and more comfortable with each other. Roy agreed, and feels that as they’ve communicated more and more, breaking out the puck has become easier, which has led to playing more at the offensive end of the ice.
Maatta: I think we talk a lot, on the ice and off the ice. That’s how you know you’re on the same page. Obviously, he’s playing great right now, I feel like we have built up some chemistry and I feel like we don’t try to do anything special out there. Just knowing where each other is makes it so much easier and you have more time to make the next play.
Roy: I think we communicate well out there, with each other and we try to make it as easy as possible for the other guy. If you communicate, you end plays and you break the puck out, it makes the game a lot easier.
Roy’s ability to skate and defend has only gotten better this season, with his consistency as strong as ever. Maatta is a veteran with two championships to his name, who has really started to settle in this season, after a tougher introduction a season ago.
Whatever is working, let’s keep it going.
Kings are off to Dallas, kicking off a four-game trip tomorrow evening against the Stars. Games in Columbus, Buffalo and Boston to follow, as the Kings look to stay hot on the road.