Kings Draft Vilardi & Ducks Re-Sign Eaves
June 23, 2017
The Kings took steps toward helping their offensive woes on Friday by drafting Gabe Vilardi with the #11 pick in the NHL Draft.
Vilardi is a 6’3, 203 LB center from Kingston, Canada. Last season he scored 29 goals and 61 points in 49 games for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.
The 17-year-old was rated as high as the fourth best player in the draft according to some publications, but fell out of the top 10 due to some of his perceived skating deficiencies. However, the Kings were impressed with Vilardi’s big game abilities. He impressed them with seven assists in Windsor’s four-game victory over Erie in the Memorial Cup final.
“We found that on the biggest stage, he took it to another level,” Kings assistant general manager Michael Futa said of Vilardi. “We were looking to upgrade our skill, and it’s a package of a big kid with just incredible skill set and he’s a winner.”
Vilardi will attend the Kings development came in El Segundo next week. Although he will likely not be a part of the Kings roster this upcoming season, some are projecting him to be a part of the Kings team by the 2018-2019 season.
Meanwhile, the Ducks did not have a 1st round pick in Friday’s 1st round. However, they re-signed winger Patrick Eaves, who they acquired from the Dallas Stars for what turned into this year’s first round pick after advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
Eaves signed a 3-year $9.45 million contract with Anaheim. He scored 11 goals in 20 regular season games following the trade to Anaheim. He also added two goals in seven playoff games. However, he suffered an ankle injury during the 2nd round against Edmonton, knocking him out of the remainder of playoff action.
His contract includes a no-movement clause as well. Eaves would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but liked what he saw in Anaheim.
“Being in that locker room is something special. I noticed that on day one,” said Eaves. “I’ve played with great players, great people …There was something different.”
Rounds 2 through 7 of the NHL draft will commence on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago.
Kings & Ducks Lose D-Men In Expansion Draft
June 21, 2017
The Kings and Ducks both lost defenseman in the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday night. The Las Vegas Golden Knights selected Brayden McNabb from the Kings, and Clayton Stoner from the Ducks.
In addition, the Ducks traded defenseman Shea Theodore to Las Vegas, and in exchange, the Golden Knights agreed not to select Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson.
Under the Expansion Draft rules, Las Vegas was required to select at least one player from each of the 32 NHL clubs. However, since some teams had trouble deciding which players they wanted to protect from selection, they made trades with Vegas, like the Ducks did, sending them additional players so other unprotected players could not be selected.
In the case of the Ducks, they were forced to leave talented defenseman Vatanen and Manson unprotected, caused by having several players on their team with no-movement clauses, which forced them to protect those players.
Stoner was injured for much of last season, and carried a cap hit of $3.25 million. That’s a big win for Anaheim. However, Theodore was a promising young defenseman that needed to be traded in order to prevent the loss of two very talented young defenseman.
In the case of the Kings, there were several players who were candidates to be selected by Vegas such as forward Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, Nic Dowd, and possibly even Dustin Brown. However, the Golden Knights chose the young, hard-hitting defenseman McNabb.
The loss of McNabb gives the Kings an additional $1.8 million under the salary cap. Although the Kings can bear the loss of McNabb’s talent, they were likely hoping a higher salaried player like Brown would be taken.
Kings Re-Sign Tyler Toffoli
June 7, 2017
The Kings re-signed forward Tyler Toffoli to a 3-year $13.3 million contract extension on Wednesday. Toffoli was scheduled to become a a restricted free agent come July 1st.
The 25-year-old forward will carry a very reasonable cap hit of $4.6 million for the next three seasons, after which he will still be able to return to free agency at the age of 28.
Toffoli has been one of the Kings most important offensive players over the past two seasons. He scored 16 goals and 34 points in 63 games this past season, in which he dealt with an injury. However, during the 2015-2016 season he scored a career-high in goals with 31, and in points with 58.
Toffoli also had 14 points in 26 playoff games during the Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup title in 2014.
Toffoli had postseason surgery on his left knee after struggling with injuries for half of the season, according to his agent, Pat Brisson. He is expected to be ready for training camp.
With Toffoli and Tanner Pearson signed to extensions, the Kings now have 18 players under contract for $67 million. The NHL salary cap is expected to come in between $73-$76 million, meaning the Kings have some flexibility for additional moves.
Kings Re-Sign Pearson
May 10, 2017
The Kings have signed Tanner Pearson to a 4-year contract extension worth $15 million. Pearson would have been a restricted free agent on July 1st.
The 24-year-old left wing scored 24 goals and 44 points in 80 games for the Kings last season. In the past two years, he’s scored 39 goals for the Kings, and been one of the most reliable offensive players.
“We were able to come to a good deal, and we were both pretty happy about it,” Pearson said. “There’s obviously a bit of negotiating that had to be done. Other than that, it went pretty smoothly and I’m happy with staying in L.A.”
With a salary cap hit of $3.75 million, Pearson’s new contract should help the Kings manage their difficult salary cap situation a little better.
LA also traded the rights to goaltender Ben Bishop to the Dallas Start for a 4th round pick in 2017. The pick originally belonged to the Montreal Canadians.
Dallas has until July 1 to reach an agreement with Bishop, before he’ll be able to negotiate with all 30 other teams as a free agent.
The Kings will now look to re-sign forward Tyler Toffoli, who is also scheduled to be a restricted free agent on July 1st. Toffoli scored 16 goals last year in an injury-shortened season. He’s scored a total of 47 goals in the past two seasons.
Kings Name John Stevens Head Coach
April 23, 2017
The Kings have promoted assistant John Stevens to head coach, which the team announced on Sunday.
Stevens replaces Darryl Sutter, who was fired by the team on April 10, along with General Manager Dean Lombardi.
The 51-year-old has been on the Kings coaching staff for the last seven season. Prior to being a part of the Kings staff, he coached the Philadelphia Flyers from 2006-2009, where he compiled a record of 120-109-34. In 2008, he led Philadelphia to an Eastern Conference Final appearance.
General Manager Rob Blake and Stevens held discussions for over a week now regarding the direction of the hockey club.
“John and I had very productive dialogue this last week in relation to his head coaching philosophy and specifically how he would implement a strategy to activate our players offensively while maintaining the defensive philosophies we have come to be known for,” Blake said in a statement. “I am confident that we are both in agreement on how that can be executed.
“With that said, we believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club. His wide array of coaching experience, including success as an NHL head coach and his inherent knowledge of our players and those in our development system, is very appealing to us. We are confident he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward.”
Stevens is known for being a very defensive-minded head coach, but his challenge will be improving upon a Kings offense that was ranked 25th in the NHL last season. LA missed the playoffs for the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons.
The Kings will hold a press conference on Monday afternoon to make the announcement and formally introduce Stevens.
Kings Fire Sutter & Lombardi
April 10, 2017
The Kings began their offseason with a major shakeup on Monday night, firing head coach Darryl Sutter, and General Manager Dean Lombardi. Lombardi will be replaced by Rob Blake, who was serving as Assistant General Manager, and Luc Robitaille will become team President.
Under Lombardi and Sutter, the Kings had the most successful four year run in franchise history, winning Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. However, in the last three years, the Kings have missed the playoffs twice, and won only 1 playoff game in that stretch.
Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of Kings parent company AEG, made this statement on Monday:
“This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past. But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority,” said Beckerman. “Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise. They built this team and helped lead us to two Stanley Cup Championships and will forever be remembered as all-time greats in Kings history. But with that level of accomplishment comes high expectations and we have not met those expectations for the last three seasons. With the core players we have in place, we should be contending each year for the Stanley Cup. Our failure to meet these goals has led us to this change.”
The Kings will hold a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at Staples Center to discuss the news, which isn’t all that much of a surprise given recent speculation.
Sutter finished with the best coaching record in franchise history, 225-147-53, and the second-most games coached in L.A history. However, Sutter was criticized by many for his inability to consistently give opportunities to his younger players that needed to be developed.
Lombardi had a year left on his contract. He was the architect of two Stanley Cup Championship teams, drafting the likes of Drew Doughty, and fortifying the roster with veterans like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Marian Gaborik. However, Lombardi’s loyalty to those veteran players created a very difficult salary cap situation for the Kings to improve their team, and their physical style took a toll on those aging veterans.
One coaching candidate the Kings may look to is John Stevens, who has been the team’s associate head coach and previously coached the Philadelphia Flyers. Ontario Reign Coach Mike Stothers could also be in the mix if the Kings intend to give more opportunity to ether younger players.
Robitaille and Blake will have to address what style the Kings will play moving forward, but will have to do so with limited salary cap flexibility to improve the roster. Leadership will also be a major question, after stripping Dustin Brown of the captaincy last season, while giving it to Anze Kopitar, who had a very poor offensive season.
Ducks Edge Kings To Win Division
April 9, 2017
The Ducks outlasted the Kings in overtime 4-3 on Sunday night at the Honda Center. The victory clinched Anaheim’s 5th straight Pacific Division title.
Nate Thompson scored the game-tying with with almost 8:30 left in the 3rd, and Shea Theodore won the game in overtime.
Theodore’s goal came on a breakaway 53 seconds into overtime to give the Ducks the victory. Anaheim has earned a point in 14 consecutive games, which is currently the longest streak in the NHL. The Ducks will open the playoffs against the Calgary Flames.
“We went through a lot of ups and downs this year,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “We grew as a group as we went along, and that was a good sign. I thought the second half of the year, we did a lot better job with our composure, with our game, and we built toward this.”
The Kings gave a spirited effort despite playing for nothing but pride, and to honor their hall of fame play-by-play announcer, Bob Miller. Miller was calling the final game of his storied career. He got to call 7 goals on the night. Drew Doughty, Kyle Clifford, and Dustin Brown all scored for the Kings. Patrick Eaves and Antoine Vermette also scored for Anaheim.
Jerome Iginla might have played the final game of his NHL career for the Kings. The 40-year-old said he will discuss his future with his family before making a decision.
“We hung in there,” Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter said. “I’ve said that lots. We didn’t score enough goals this year. We didn’t have enough goal-scorers in our lineup.”
The Kings season is over, and they’ll have to do some soul searching after missing the playoffs for the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons.
The Ducks will open the playoffs on Thursday against Calgary at the Honda Center. One concern for Anaheim will be the loss of defenseman Cam Fowler, who is out 2-6 weeks with a knee injury.
Kings Win In Bob Miller Home Finale
April 8, 2017
The Kings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at Staples. The win was a nice way to say goodbye to Kings Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Bob Miller, who was calling the final home game of his career.
Drew Doughty scored the game-winning goal 27 seconds into overtime, after redirecting a pass from Jeff Carter past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. The goal finished off an exciting 3rd period, which saw the Kings rally twice from one-goal deficits. Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli also scored for the Kings. Chicago’s goals came from Jonathan Toews and and Artemi Panarin.
The Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead after Toews wristed a shot that deflected off of Jonathan Quick’s shoulder at the 6:25 mark of the 1st. That lead would stand until the 3rd.
Toffoli blasted a one-timer by Corey Crawford on the power play at 4:52 of the 3rd period. That tied the game, but the Hawks would strike back 9 minutes later, when Panarin scored his 31st of the season. Panarin took a cross-ice pass from Patrick Kane, which Quick had no chance to stop. However, Brown tied it up again with 55 seconds left in the game, after sneaking backdoor and putting a backhander by Crawford.
That set the stage for Doughty’s heroics in overtime. Quick made 25 saves as well for the Kings, who will miss the playoffs for the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons.
Miller has spent 44 years as the voice of the Kings. Saturday afternoon’s game featured a number of tributes to him, which including the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Barry Melrose, Vin Scully, and many others.
Miller will call the final game of his career on Sunday night in Anaheim, against the Ducks.
Flames Burn Kings
April 6, 2017
The Flames got 3 second period goals on Thursday night and took down the Kings 4-1 at Staples Center.
Jon Gillies made 27 saves in his first career start, and Dennis Wideman, Freddie Hamilton and Alex Chiasson scored during the 3 goal blitz in a game that meant nothing to the Kings in the standings. The Flames on the other hand are trying to earn the top wild card spot in the West.
The Kings lone goal on the night came from Trevor Lewis, just over 6 minutes into the game. That tied the game at 1-1 after Sam Bennett gave the Flames a 1-0 lead at the 4:57 mark of the 1st.
Ben Bishop made 20 saves for the Kings, and has lost 5 of his 7 starts since being acquired just before the trade deadline.
“We don’t match up in our division very well, and we certainly did not tonight and it’s clear,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
The Flames can now assure themselves a first-round matchup against the top team in the Pacific Division with a win against San Jose or a Nashville loss at Winnipeg on Saturday.
The Kings have two games remaining in their season. They’ll face the Blackhawks on Saturday at Staples, and finish the season on Sunday at the Ducks. Those will be the final two games that Hall of Fame Kings broadcaster Bob Miller will call for his storied career
Kings Find Offense
April 4, 2017
The Kings got their offense going on Monday night at Staples Center in a 6-4 win over the Oilers. The win ended the Oilers 5-game win streak, and put a dent in their hopes of winning the Pacific Division.
Trevor Lewis and Tanner Pearson scored 8.5 minutes apart in the 3rd period, and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings.
The Kings also got goals from Nic Dowd, Nick Shore, Dustin Brown, and an empty-netter from Drew Doughty. It was just the 2nd time in the last 7 games that the Kings were able to defeat a playoff-bound opponent.
For the Oilers, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals, while Milan Lucic and Daniel Nurse scored as well.
Cam Talbott made 20 saves for Edmonton, which is now tied with San Jose for 2nd place win the Pacific Division with three games left.
The Kings have three games left this season. They will return to action on Thursday vs Calgary at Staples Center.
Kings Eliminated By
April 2, 2017
The Kings were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday night with a 2-1 loss to Arizona at Staples Center.
The loss was very symbolic of the Kings’ season. They needed a win to keep their season alive against a very bad team, the team with the 2nd worst record in the West, and they came up short.
The Coyotes got on the board late in the 1st period, when Alexander Burmistrov tapped home his own rebound past Jonathan Quick. The goal came on the power play with just 15 seconds left in the period.
Arizona would strike again at the 3:09 mark of the 2nd when Anthony Duclair took advantage of sloppy Kings’ puck handling. Duclair scored on his own rebound, and the Coyotes had a 2-0 lead.
The Kings would score a fluke goal in the 3rd period when Alec Martinez tried to shoot the puck along the boards into the Coyotes zone from center ice. The puck bounced off Coyotes defenseman Jordan Martinook, and back toward the Arizona goal, which was vacated by goaltender Mike Smith. Smith thought the puck was going to end up behind the net before it was re-directed towards the goal, but the puck ended up going into the open net.
That’s as close as the Kings would get. They had three power play opportunities after that, but were unable to tie the game. After the game Anze Kopitar reflect on the missed opportunities.
“We just had too many stretches of playing not remotely good enough, and the losses kept piling on,” Kopitar said. “I think coming back after the break, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.”
Jonathan Quick said the problem was more than just lack of offense. “I don’t think it’s all on the goal scoring. This time of year you’ve got to know how to keep the puck out of your net just as much as you need to know how to put it in. It’s on everybody.”
With much younger and faster teams in the division, the Kings will have to consider much more significant changes this offseason. LA has missed the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, and has just one playoff win in that stretch. Many of their quality players from their Stanley Cups victories in 2012 and 2014 are no longer on the roster.
“These guys know,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “Edmonton, Calgary and San Jose all took a major step in terms of what their teams were. Keep up. You’ve got to keep up. There’s no question about it.”
The Kings have four games left in their season, beginning with Tuesday night against Edmonton at Staples Center.
Kings Still Clinging
March 31, 2017
The Kings kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Friday night in Vancouver, as they defeated the Canucks 2-0.
Jarome Iginla continued his hot streak, scoring the 625th goal of his career, while Jonathan Quick made 35 saves for LA for his 2nd shutout of the season.
Tyler Toffoli also scored for the Kings, who are now 8 points behind Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have just five games left to play. That 2nd wild card spot is the only playoff spot remaining in the West, as 7 other West teams have clinched berths in this year’s postseason.
The Kings would need to go 5-0, while the Predators would have to go 1-4 for LA to pass them in the standings. Any combination of Nashville wins and Kings losses that total two will put the Predators in the postseason.
It was the 10th time this season the Canucks had been shutout, after they had been eliminated from postseason contention last week.
Iginla’s goal midway through the 2nd period put the Kings on the board, and proved to be the game-winner. The 40-year-old redirected a shot from Alec Martinez past Canucks goalie Ryan Miller. The goal tied Iginla with Joe Sakic for 15th on the all-time NHL list.
Tyler Toffoli would extend the lead to 2-0 four minutes later. The goal was Toffoli’s 15th of the season, and came on a shot from the right circle, which finished off a 3-on-2 rush.
The Kings will now return to Staples Center for a four game homestand. The first will be Sunday against Arizona. Nashville on the other hand will have three of its final five games on the road, but two of those are against teams that aren’t in the playoffs.
“We’re not going to give up,” Jerome Iginla said. “We’ve got to make sure that we do our part. In one week things can happen. Teams can go cold. It happens. We’ve just got to focus on ourselves. So nobody’s quitting.”
Kings Spoil Flames
March 29, 2017
The Kings prevented the Flames from clinching a playoff spot on Wednesday night in Alberta, defeating Calgary 4-1.
Jerome Iginla led the way for LA, scoring his 100th career game-winning goal, picking up an assist, and decisively winning a fight against Deryk Engelland. Trevor Lewis, Anze Kopitar, and Jeff Carter also scored for the Kings.
This game was all about revenge for the Kings. When these two teams last met on March 19, Calgary rookie Matthew Tkachuk elbowed Drew Doughty in the face and picked up a two game suspension. Even prior to the start of the game, Kyle Clifford approached Tkachuk near center ice and exchanged words with the Flames rookie, as did other members of both teams.
Tkachuk fought Kings’ defenseman Brayden McNabb in the 1st period, and Tkachuk was dropped to the ice after a good upper cut. Iginla’s fight with Engelland resulted in a cut opening up on forehead of the Flames’ defenseman.
It was Iginla’s goal with 46 seconds left in the 2nd period that would be the decisive tally. The goal came during a big scramble in front of Flames’ goalie Brian Elliott. Iginla now has 5 goals in 13 games for LA.
Doug Hamilton scored the Flames only goal. Calgary will have another chance to clinch a playoff spot on Friday night against the Sharks at home.
Ben Bishop made 29 saves for LA. Bishop is now 2-2-2 since being acquired from Tampa at the trade deadline.
The Kings will try to keep their dim playoff hopes alive on Friday night in Vancouver, against the Canucks.
Oilers Edge Kings &
March 28, 2017
The Kings lost yet another opportunity to make up ground in the Western Conference playoff race, losing 2-1 to the Oilers on Tuesday night in Edmonton. The loss meant the Oilers clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2005.
Cam Talbot made 34 saves. while Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba scored for Edmonton. The Kings’ goal came from Jerome Iginla. The Oilers have won 7 of their last 8 games.
Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for LA, but the Kings have lost four of their last five games. They trail St. Louis by 11 points with only 7 games left to play.
It looked like the Oilers scored 49 seconds into the game, but Oscar Klefbom’s goal was disallowed after the referee ruled that there was goaltender interference on the play.
However, McDavid would score later in the period when his pass deflected off of Derek Forbort and past Quick. It was his 27th goal of the season, and league-leading 89th point.
Iginla tied it up with 3 minutes left in the period, after firing a shot past Talbot on his glove side. The goal was his 4th in 12 games since being acquired by the Kings just prior to the trade deadline.
The Oilers would score the game-winner at 7:03 of the 2nd period when Gryba’s long shot deflected past Quick. The Kings even got a break when another Oiler goal was waived off when officials ruled they blew the whistle because of a delayed penalty prior to the puck entering the net.
The Kings had chances but couldn’t capitalize. Jeff Carter had an opportunity short-handed that was stopped by the pad of Talbot. “I thought I had some room low blocker. I think I just caught the top of his pad,” Carter said.
LA also had opportunities in the final minute, but Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin were stopped by Talbot.
The Kings will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday in Calgary. Anze Kopitar knows things aren’t looking good. “At the start of the year, I think if you looked at our roster, not a whole lot of people would have predicted that we’d be in the position we are right now,” Kopitar said.
Kings Shut Down
March 25, 2017
An all-too familiar scene went down at Staples Center on Saturday night. The Kings not scoring a goal. This time it was a 3-0 loss to the Rangers, all but officially sealing their fate of missing the playoffs.
Once again, the Kings would have their chances, but couldn’t finish. Derek Stepan scored late in the 2nd period and Antii Raanta made 30 saves for his 8th career shutout.
The Rangers also got goals from Ryan McDonagh on the power-play, and an empty-netter from Rick Nash. New York has won 8 of their last 10 road games. They have the best road record in the NHL.
Jonathan Quick made 17 saves for the Kings. He still hasn’t given up hope on making the playoffs though. “We have to focus on the next game. Try to win the next game and go from there,” Quick said. “That’s it. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, that’s your mind-set. That’s what we’ll do.”
The Kings had a number of younger players in the lineup, who continued to gain experience. That included rookie Jonny Brodzinski, who was making his NHL debut. The 23-year-old nearly scored his first career goal, but was stopped on a breakaway in the 2nd period.
“I wish we had gotten the win. If I score on that breakaway I had then it’s a totally different game,” Brodzinski said.
Stepan scored at the 13:02 mark of the 2nd period, when he fired a shot past Quick after the puck bounced off the boards.
The lead became 2-0 when McDonagh scored four seconds into a double minor against Andy Andreoff for high sticking. McDonagh blasted a shot that went through Quick’s legs. Nash would add the empty-net goal with just over a minute left in the game, and that sealed the Kings fate.
The Kings will try their luck on the road against a few division foes starting Tuesday in Edmonton, followed by games on Wednesday and Friday at Calgary and Vancouver.
Kings Beat Jets But
Time Running Out
March 23, 2017
The Kings kept their very slim playoff hopes alive on Thursday night with a 5-2 win over the Jets at Staples Center.
The Kings scored four power play goals on the night. Drew Doughty, Marian Gaborik, and Anze Kopitar scored power play goals, while Tanner Pearson and Jake Muzzin also scored for LA. The Kings still trail Nashville by 8 points with 9 games to play.
Gaborik scored at 2:01 of the 3rd period to give the Kings a 3-2 lead. Almost 2 minutes later it was Doughty extending the LA lead by 2. Then Pearson scored a short-handed goal with 10:38 left.
Patrick Laine and Mathieu Perreault each scored for the Jets. Ben Bishp made 19 saves for the Kings.
The last time the Kings had four goals on special teams was when they scored four power-play goals against San Jose on April 5, 2012.
Kopitar has gotten hot but it is likely too little too late. The Kings captain has scored 5 goals and 9 points in his last 10 games.
LA will be back in action on Saturday night against the Rangers at Staples Center. Five of the Kings last nine games are at home, but they’ll have a three game road trip to Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver before the season ends.
Kings Get Shut
Down In Edmonton
March 20, 2017
Just when you think things can’t get any worse for the Kings, they suffer a 2-0 loss to Edmonton on Monday night in Alberta. At this point, the Kings chances of making the playoffs are about as good as me dating Mila Kunis.
Cam Talbot made 35 saves for his second consecutive shutout and 7th of the season, and the Kings lost their 2nd consecutive critical game.
Patrick Maroon scored 1 minute into the game, and former King Milan Lucic poked a rebound past Jonathan Quick about 11 minutes later, which accounted for both goals on the evening. Lucic’s goal came on the power play, which ended a streak of 34 consecutive LA penalty kills on the road.
The Kings on the other hand were unable to convert on either of their two power play opportunities. They also showed why they have only the 25th best offensive in the league all night, failing to capitalize on the scoring chances that would come their way. The Kings were outshot 15-7 in the 1st period. Although they would put up 28 shots the rest of the way, they couldn’t finish.
Jonathan Quick stopped 29 shots but the Kings have now lost four of their last five games. They are six points behind the St. Louis Blues for the final playoff spot in the West with only 10 games remaining.
The Kings return home on Thursday to face the Winnipeg Jets. They will need a Titanic like disaster from the teams in front of them, along with winning nearly all of their remaining games to have a chance at playing in the postseason.
Kings Get Trounced
March 19, 2017
The Kings continued to fall further out of the playoffs on Sunday night in Calgary, this time getting beaten by the Flames 5-2.
This night belonged to the Flames Johnny Gaudreau, who had a goal and two assists for Calgary. “Johnny Hockey” set up goals by Sean Monahan and Michael Stone to give the Flames an early lead, then scored the second of two Calgary goals 50 seconds apart early in the second period.
The Flames also got goals from Mark Giordano and Kris Versteeg, and Brian Elliott made 19 saves. Anze Kopitar and Nic Dowd scored the Kings’ goals, but it was a rough night from the start.
Jonathan Quick started for LA, but was pulled after giving up two goals on seven shots. Ben Bishop relieved him, and gave up 2 more goals on 16 shots.
LA’s usually stingy defense was nowhere to be found on Sunday. The speed of the Flames created great scoring opportunities, and the Kings were never able to impose their heavy-hitting style of play.
The Kings are now six points behind Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Calgary on the other hand, has won 12 of their last 13 games, and moved into 3rd place in the Pacific Division.
With just 11 games left, the Kings will now travel to Edmonton to take on the Oilers on Monday night.
Kings Keep Hope
Alive With Win
March 17th, 2017
The Kings kept their fading playoff hopes alive on Thursday night at Staples Center with a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
The game was scoreless until the 3rd period when Jerome Iginla got the Kings on the board 36 seconds into the final frame. It was Iginla’s 3rd goal since being traded to the Kings, which was set up by the hard work of Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.
About 14 minutes later, rookie Adrian Kempe scored his second goal as King with a beautiful wrist shot from the right circle. Brown earned his second assist of the game on the play.
Jonathan Quick would slam the door after that. The Kings netminder made 26 saves and earned his 1st shutout of the season.
The win helped the Kings keep pace with the St. Louis Blues, who defeated the Sharks on Thursday to remain 4 points ahead of LA in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have 12 games left.
“We need to win every game,” forward Tyler Toffoli said earlier this week. “We need to get rolling here and find a way to get two points in all these games coming up.”
LA finished their 7 game home stand with a 4-2-1 record, which sounds good, but not under the circumstances. The Kings started the homestand just 2 points out of a playoff spot, and now they are 4 points back after critical losses to the Blues and Coyotes.
Now the Kings hit the road for two more critical games. The first comes Sunday night at Calgary, followed by Monday night in Edmonton. Perhaps one of the few bright spots for LA in their chase for the final playoff spot is that they have a total of 6 games remaining against the Flames and Oilers, who can still be caught before the season is over.
Kings Dealt Another
March 14, 2017
For the 2nd night in a row, the Kings were dealt another devastating blow to their playoff hopes. This time, a 3-2 loss to Arizona in shootout at Staples Center. The shootout took 11 rounds, but the Coyotes prevailed on a goal by Anthony DeAngelo.
Even though the Kings got 1 point in the standings, it’s not nearly enough with just 13 games left in the season, and 4 points out of a playoff spot. LA would need to win 10 of their final 13 games, and that’s if St. Louis or Edmonton play .500 hockey the rest of the way.
The Kings actually had the lead twice in this one. After a scoreless 1st period, Tyler Toffoli scored his 1st of two goals on the night at the 5:03 mark of the 2nd period. The Coyotes would tie things up in the 3rd period on Max Domi’s 8th goal of the season. It looked like the Kings we’re going to come away with 2 points when Toffoli struck again on the power play with 1:36 left. His 14th of the season. However, the Coyotes would answer. Domi would take advantage of a broken play in front of Kings goalie Ben Bishop, to tie the game with 45 seconds left.
In overtime, both teams had their chances, but Bishop and Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue made some big saves. Arizona even had a 4-on-3 power play in the final seconds of OT, but the Kings managed to get the game to a shootout.
That set the stage for the drama in shootout. Jeff Carter got things started off nicely for the Kings with a goal on a beautiful wrist shot that beat Domingue. Brandon Perlini answered for the Coyotes with a goal of his own. 10 rounds later, Bishop and Domingue continued to make save after save, until DeAngelo won it for Arizona in the 11th round.
Bishop made 30 saves and played a strong game, but he’s still winless since being traded to the Kings. Once again, the LA dominated on the stat sheet, but not on the scoresheet. The Kings outshot the Coyotes 46-32, and dominated the faceoff circle 49-29.
Kings Playoff Hopes
On Thin Ice After
Loss To Blues
March 13th, 2017
Well at least there’s good news for Bob Miller. The Kings last two games of the season probably won’t be stressful when he’s calling the final two games of his career, because the games will likely be meaningless. After the Kings lost 3-1 to the Blues on Monday at Staples Center, their playoff hopes are fading fast.
Magnus Paajarvi scored a power-play goal, and Jake Allen made 38 big saves as the Blues extended their lead over the Kings to 5 points for the final playoff spot in the West. There are 14 games left to play, and that means that even if the Blues win half of their remaining games, the Kings would have to win 10 of their final 14 just to pass them in the standings. LA hasn’t won 10 of 14 games during this entire season.
The game was scoreless after the 1st period, in a very cautious twenty minutes from both teams. Then in the 2nd, David Perron dug the puck out from underneath Jonathan Quick, and pushed the puck into the net after the Kings goaltender made the initial save.
The Blues made it 2-0 just 1:10 into the 3rd period, when Paajarvi deflected in a shot from Patrick Berglund, after Quick once again made the initial save on the play. It was a power play goal for St. Louis, which was just the 4th time the Kings have given up a power play goal in the last 55 penalty-kill opportunities.
Dustin Brown got the Kings on the board with just over 3 minutes left, putting home a rebound after a big scramble of bodies in front of the Blues net.
However, the Kings would get no closer. Jake Allen continued to respond with big save after big save, and Alexander Steen closed the scoring with an empty-netter. So how do the Kings approach the next 14 games?
“Just not pay attention to standings, not pay attention to what other the other teams did. And just worry about us and win every single game for the rest of the season,” defenseman Drew Doughty said.
The Kings face another must win game on Tuesday night against Phoenix at Staples Center. LA is 5-5-2 in back-to-back games this season.
Kempe’s First NHL
Goal Helps Kings
Adrian Kempe scored his 1st NHL goal midway through the 3rd period, which helped give the Kings get a critical 2 points on Saturday vs the Capitals. The Kings kept pace with the St. Louis Blues, and remained 3 points behind them in the race for the final playoff spot in the West.
Anze Kopitar also scored a goal and had an assist for LA, and Jonathan Quick made 17 saves to help the Kings win their 3rd game in the last 4 tries. Marian Gaborik also scored, and Jeff Carter had an empty-netter.
This was the first time the Kings won back-to-back games since early February. Kempe was excited to finally find the back of the net for LA. “There was a lot of time left in the game,” he said, “[but] I think it was an important goal and it was a really great feeling to finally put it in.”
The Kings fell behind 1-0 and 2-1, but tied it at 2-2 heading into the 3rd period on the goal by Kopitar. It was the Kings fifth straight game with a power play goal, and the 3rd in the last 4 games for LA captain. Then Kempe put the Kings ahead for good by spinning away from Capitals forward Marcus Johansson, and beating Philipp Grubauer,
Jonathan Quick started for the 2nd straight game, but Darryl Sutter reassured everyone that Ben Bishop will still see some action.
“Quite honest, we are in a position where we’re fighting for a playoff spot because our goaltending, in February, hit the wall,” Sutter said.
The Kings will have a huge game against the Blues on Monday night at Staples Center, as both teams continue to fight for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Through For The
March 9th, 2017
The Kings are desperate for every win they can get right now, and they got a big 3-2 overtime win against Nashville on Thursday night. Jerome Iginla scored his first two goals as a King, including the game-winner in overtime.
“It was a hard-fought game for sure. Lots on the line,” Iginla said. “It feels good to be able to get that win as a group. “New team, to be able to find some way to contribute, it’s exciting to be out there at the end in a key situation.”
Nashville would strike first in this one. Callie Jarnkrok beat Jonathan Quick in the slot, after Roman Josi knocked the puck off of Marian Gaborik’s stick while battling along the boards. That was only the Predator’s 3rd shot of the game.
The Kings would strike back in the 2nd, when Iginla took a pass from Gaborik, and manuevered his way around Pekka Rinne for a power play goal.
Just 91 seconds into the 3rd period, the Predators would go ahead on a goal by Kevin Fiala. He knocked in a rebound after a big scramble in front of the Kings net.
However 10 minutes later, Gaborik tied the game after knocking down a shot from Alec Martinez, and tucking it underneath Rinne. It was Gaborik’s 8th goal of the season.
That’s when Iginla would send the Kings home as winners. The win pulls LA within 1 points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is held by the St. Louis Blues. The Kings are coming off a 5 day break, and have played 1 more game than the Blues.
LA has its work cut out for them just to make the playoffs, but Iginla likes the Kings chances. “I’m positive. I’m very optimistic,” he said. “I know we’ve got a lot of work to do. But these guys, they’re winners. It’s a very tight-knit group. This time of year, they find ways. “It’s going to be a last fun month of the regular season. Everyone believes we can get in.”
The Kings continue their home stand on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals. Then they’ll have a big showdown on Monday night against St. Louis.
Kings Rally Falls
March 5th, 2017
Another game the Kings needed got away from them on Saturday night at Staples. The Kings fell behind 4-0, but their rally fell short as they lost 4-3 to Vancouver.
Sven Baertschi scored twice, Ryan Miller made 41 saves and the Vancouver Canucks ended a four-game losing streak.
Trevor Lewis and Anze Kopitar each scored a power-play goal, Alec Martinez scored a short-handed goal and Ben Bishop made 17 saves in his home debut for Los Angeles, which missed out on a chance to move three points ahead of St. Louis for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
In typical Kings fashion, LA outshot their opponent 44-21, and dominated the possession numbers as well. The Kings even won the special teams battle, scoring two power play goals, and not giving up any to Vancouver.
However, LA continued to have problems 5-on-5. “On the score sheet, we may be close, but really the first two periods, it was nowhere near close enough to our game, and nowhere near close to being good enough,” Kopitar said.
The Kings were victimized by a few unfortunate deflections against them, but they have little room for error left. LA continues game 3 of its 7 game home stand on Thursday against Nashville.
Kings Beat Leafs
After Big Day
March 2nd, 2017
It was an emotional day for the Kings, who managed to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday night at Staples Center. It was bittersweet for Kings fans after learning that Hall of Fame announcer, Bob Miller will be retiring at the end of the season.
The Kings trailed 2-0 after Toronto got goals from Tyler Bozak and Nikita Zaitsev in the 1st two periods. However, LA battled back in the 3rd, sparked by Anze Kopitar’s power play goal 27 seconds in the period.
The goal was the first for the Kings captain in the last 13 games, and bounced off the head of Zaitsev in to the Toronto net.
Just 90 seconds later, Tanner Pearson tied the game at 2-2 after sliding the puck past Frederik Anderson. It was his 22nd goal of the season.
After an exciting overtime session in which both teams had their chances, the game would go to a shootout. That’s when Kopitar would score the only goal for either side, to help secure a big Kings win.
Jonathan Quick made 29 saves, and stopped all 3 Maple Leafs he faced in the shootout. Quick’s final save was very acrobatic, where he even reached behind his back to stop the fin shot.
With the win, the Kings inch past St. Louis and back into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Jerome Iginla made his debut as a King. He knows he has work to do though, “Personally, I can get better,” he said. “It was a fun game to be a part of. You could tell how important the points were, for them and for us. And to be able to come back and get that in the overtime, back and forth is pretty exciting.
As for Bob Miller, just hours earlier, he announced that this would be his final season with the Kings, after 44 years and 3,351 broadcasts. Miller is 78, and coming off of a minor stroke he suffered in January. It’s the 2nd straight season that Miller has had health problems. In February of last year, he had a four-way heart-bypass operation. Doctors had essentially made the decision for him, telling him to slow down.
“I said, ‘Well, in this sport, in my mind, there’s no taking it easy. When they drop the puck, you’re going. You’re on,’” he said. “And that’s what the fans expect from you and that’s the way you want to do the game.
Ralph Strangis has been filling in for Miller for the last month with play-by-play duties. However, Miller said that he will call two finals games: April 8th vs Chicago, and April 9th at Anaheim. That gives him and the Kings fans a final chance to say goodbye.
Miller’s retirement is the end of an era of great broadcasting in Los Angeles. For nearly half a century, LA got to listen to three Hall of Fame announcers: Vin Scully, Chick Hearn, and Miller. Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille summed it up best: “No one will ever replace Bob, just like you can’t replace the great people that worked for the Dodgers and the Lakers. He’s at that same level.”
Kings Get Burned By
Flames In OT
February 28th, 2017
The Kings overtime luck is finally running out, and it’s happening at the worst time. For the 2nd night in a row, LA lost in OT. This time, it was a critical 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.
TJ Brodie got loose on a breakaway just 1:47 into overtime, as the Flames spoiled goaltender Ben Bishop’s debut as a King. Brodie got behind the LA defense, and received a long pass from Mikael Backlund before making a nice move to beat Bishop. It was Brodie’s 5th goal of the season.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Kings were 10-2 in overtime games this season, and over the last two years had been the best team in the NHL in the extra session. Despite LA’s offensive struggles the last few years, they have been excellent since the NHL implemented 3-on-3 during overtime.
Tanner Pearson scored the Kings only goal of the game, knocking in a power play goal at the 8:42 mark of the 1st period. It was Pearson’s 21st of the season, and had to be reviewed by the officials to be sure that it had crossed the goal line before the whistle blew.
The Flames would tie things up in the 2nd period, when Michael Ferland slapped in a pass from Mark Giordano. Ferland took advantage of the fact that Kings defenseman, Jake Muzzin, had fallen down on the play, which allowed him to get open in front of the LA net.
Ben Bishop was spectacular in his Kings debut, stopping 28 shots, including several big saves in the 2nd period. As many feared though, Bishop was unable to help LA’s struggling offense.
Although the Kings did salvage a point in the standings, they remained 1 point behind St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With the win, Calgary has now opened up a 6 point lead on the Kings. The teams will meet three more times before the season is over, with two of them in Calgary.
It’s going to be an interesting next two days for the Kings before they begin a 7 game home stand on Thursday against Toronto. Wednesday at 12 pm PST is the trade deadline. It’s the last chance for Dean Lombardi to try and bring in some more help offensively before the season is over. Then on Thursday, Kings play-by-play announcer Bob Miller will be holding a press conference regarding his future. Miller has been home recuperating from a stroke he suffered in late January, and is expected to announce his retirement.
Wild Against Kings
February 27th, 2017
Only the Kings could score 4 goals in a game and find a way to lose a game they desperately needed. Only the Kings could manage to have the lead 4 times in a game, yet manage to lose in OT. Sure enough, that’s how it went down, as the Kings lost to Minnesota 5-4 in overtime on Monday night in St. Paul.
Mikael Granlund surprised the Kings with his speed 12 seconds into overtime, and wrapped a shot around Jonathan Quick to give the Wild the victory. It was Granlund’s 20th goal of the season, which gave the Wild their 15th comeback win of the season.
The Kings got goals from Nick Shore, Tanner Pearson, Jake Muzzin, and Marian Gaborik in regulation. However, the Wild answered each goal, one by one. It was Jason Zucker’s spinning wrist shot midway through the 3rd period that tied the game. Minnesota also got goals from Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Schroeder, and Ryan White. White, along with Martin Hanzal, were playing their first game for the team after being acquired Sunday in a trade with Arizona.
Marian Gaborik responded nicely for the Kings, after being a healthy scratch in the teams’ previous game against Anaheim. Gaborik had a goal and an assist, and was using his speed to create numerous opportunities for LA throughout the game.
Jonathan Quick stopped 30 of 35 shots, and although he made some big saves, he wasn’t quite a sharp as he was on Saturday against Anaheim.
The Kings already added one significant piece to their team before Wednesday’s trade deadline, acquiring Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop. The move seems unusual with Jonathan Quick healthy again, but General Manager Dean Lombardi assured everyone that Bishop will see some playing time as Quick regains his form. “You’re never sure how well a guy who’s been out this long, is he going to have his ‘A’ game?,” he said. “This is not an insurance policy. [Bishop] needs to play.”
Even more surprising was Lombardi’s insistence that the team is unlikely to add any more offensive help between now and Wednesday. “The focus has to be on the players we have producing up to their capability. And then we can look at additions.”
The Kings managed to salvage a point in the standings, despite the loss. Tuesday night they’ll be facing an even more critical game on the road at Calgary. The Kings are 2 points behind St Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and now 5 points behind The Flames. That will be the first of 4 more meetings between the Kings and Flames this season.
Quick Returns &
February 25th, 2017
For the first time in 59 games, Jonathan Quick was back in goal for the LA Kings. He looked as sharp as he usually is, despite missing nearly the entire season with a groin injury. Quick made 32 saves as the Kings got a much needed 3-2 win against the Ducks at Staples Center.
Quick was excellent throughout, making several big saves in the 1st period. However, the Ducks still managed to get one by the Kings goaltender late in the 1st. Andrew Cogliano tipped in a pass from Ryan Kessler for his 14th of the season, and Anaheim was in control at the 1st intermission.
Neither team scored in the 2nd period, and despite Quick’s efforts, it looked like another game where the Kings offense was going to come up empty.
Then in the 3rd period the Kings rallied. Tyler Toffoli put LA on the board 3:37 into the period after poking the puck past a sprawling Jonathan Bernier. Bernier was unable to cover the puck during a big scramble in front of the Ducks net. A little over 4 minutes later, it was Toffoli again, scoring his 12th after tipping in a pass from Jeff Carter on a 2-on-1. 17 seconds later, Dustin Brown re-directed a shot by Kevin Gravel, which made it 3-1 Kings.
The Ducks would pressure the Kings in the final 12 minutes, but Quick continued to turn back Anaheim. Finally, after the Ducks pulled their goaltender for the extra-attacker in the final two minutes, Jeff Carter scored his 30th goal of the season on an empty-netter. Carter took a pass from Anze Kopitar, who picked up his 2nd assist of the game on the play.
The game was physical throughout, which is usually the case when these two cross-town rivals get together. Things got especially chippy in the 2nd period, when a 10-man dog pile lead to a fight between Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb and Ducks Center Nate Thompson. Later in the period, Jeff Carter and Ryan Kessler squared off, with Kessler landing a big blow to the face of the Kings leading scorer. A fight involving either of those two skilled players is rare, but the blow may have woken the Kings up from their slump.
Patrick Eaves made his debut for the Ducks after being acquired from Dallas for a conditional second-round draft pick Friday. Slotted on a line with Corey Perryand Rickard Rakell, Eaves played 16:09.
For the Kings, Coach Darryl Sutter won his 216th game with LA, passing Andy Murray for most in franchise history. Sutter also scratched right wing Marian Gaborik for just the second time this season, after Gaborik had failed to score a point in the last 9 games. Gaborik was replace in the lineup by forward Jordan Nolan, who was activated from injured reserve after missing the last 9 games with a lower-body injury.
The win tied the season series between the Kings and Ducks at 2-2. More importantly though, it kept the Kings in the playoff race. LA now trails Nashville by 3 points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and they are 4 points behind division rival Calgary. The Kings will face the Flames on Tuesday night in Calgary, which will be the 2nd night of a back-to-back after playing at Minnesota on Monday.
As for the Ducks, they will now have their bye week, and do not play again until March 3rd against Toronto. Anaheim is still tied for 2nd place in the Pacific Division with Edmonton, and only 3 points behind San Jose for 1st place.
Kings Still Can’t
Find Their Game
February 23rd, 2017
The Kings are still trending in the wrong direction. The Bruins came in to Staples Center on Thursday night and defeated the Kings 4-1, handing LA their 6th loss in their last 8 games.
LA is now 4 points behind Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 22 games left to play. The Kings have two games in hand on Calgary, but it feels like they’ve been using that excuse to feel better about themselves for a few months now.
The Bruins scored four minutes into the game off a turnover from Jake Muzzin, which led to a 2-on-1. Brad Marchand streaked down the right wing and beat Peter Budaj with a wrist shot on the short side. The Kings answered with a goal from defenseman Kevin Gravel, the first of his NHL career, in the final two minutes of the 1st period. Gravel’s goal was set up nicely by rookie Adrian Kempe, who collected his 2nd NHL point on the play.
Boston would answer in the 2nd period on a goal by David Pastrnak, who broke a tie with a power play goal five minutes into the period. Patrnak broke his stick on a one-timer from the left side, which fluttered past Peter Budaj. The Kings pressed in the final 90 seconds of the game, pulling Budaj for the extra attacker. However, the Bruins would score two empty-net goals, which came from Dominic Moore and David Krejci, in the final 65 seconds.
Jeff Carter knows the Kings need to score more goals to get it done. “We didn’t have it tonight,” Carter lamented. “You’ve got to score goals to win. There were games … where we weren’t good enough to win. And games where we were good enough but we didn’t score enough goals.”
As well as Peter Budaj has played this season, the Kings style requires elite goaltending to win. They may get it from Jonathan Quick before the season is over, but that looks like it’s about two weeks away. The Kings need to win now, or else the playoff race will be over by the time Quick comes back. That also means LA needs to get more offensive production from its veteran leaders.
LA is allowing the fewest shots per game in the NHL, and the 5th fewest goals per game. However, only 7 teams have scored fewer goals than the Kings, and their power play is just 23rd in the league. It seems like the Kings hit a handful of goal posts every game, but they need to find a way to finish, or else their season will be finished soon.
Help doesn’t seem like it’s on the way either. General Manager Dean Lombardi said he doesn’t expect the team to make any big moves before the March 1st trade deadline. On one hand, the Kings control their own destiny, with 14 of their last 22 games at home, and 4 games against Calgary. Still, it’s hard to have any confidence that the Kings are going to make the playoffs given how they’ve played.
Kings Snap Skid
February 21st, 2017
It took playing the worst team in the league, but the Kings final got back in the win column. Trevor Lewis scored the game-winning goal midway through the 2nd period, and Peter Budaj made 24 saves as the Kings beat the Avalanche 2-1 in Denver. The win also moved Kings coach Darryl Sutter into a tie for the most wins as coach of the Kings.
The win was the 215th win for Sutter, which tied former Kings coach Andy Murray for the most in franchise history. More importantly, the win snapped a three-game losing skid, and kept the Kings in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. LA remains two points behind the Calgary Flames for the final playoff spot in the West. The Flames defeated Nashville in overtime on Tuesday night.
After a scoreless first period, the Kings fell behind on a goal by Mikko Rantanen, who stole the puck from Drew Doughty at the LA blue line. That goal came just 32 seconds in the period. However, Tyler Toffoli scored his 10th goal of the season a few minutes later while crashing the net. Kings rookie Adrian Kempe picked up his first career NHL point on the play with an assist.
About six minutes later, Lewis tucked the puck past Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard and the near post. Budaj did an excellent job after that. He stopped 11 shots in the third period, which might have been in his best performance in a couple of weeks.
Budaj is well aware of where the Kings are in the standings. “You seen the standings?” he said. “The standings are tight. And we need every point we can get. It’s just a big game for us.”
“We need to win some games and kind of get a streak going so we can get in the playoffs here,” Tyler Toffoli acknowledged.
The Kings return home on Wednesday to take on the Boston Bruins. They’ll get another crack at the Ducks on Saturday as well before another short road trip.
Ducks Shut Down
February 19th, 2017
The Kings continued their struggle to score, and the Ducks got 2 big points against their cross-town rival with a 1-0 win against LA on Sunday night in Anaheim.
Josh Manson scored his second goal of the season and Jonathan Gibson made 24 saves for his 10th career shutout. Anaheim has now won two of the three games this season against LA, and moved back into a tie for 2nd place in the Pacific Division.
In seasons past, the Kings have been known to win these tight checking close games. LA played a very physical game, however, Anaheim countered with a persistent forecheck which ultimately set up the only goal of the game. The Ducks know they need to play that style to win in the postseason, something that has eluded them for a while.
“We just showed how we can play,” Gibson said. “This time of the season, that’s the way it is going to be. Going into the playoffs, towards the end of the year, every game is going to be tight. There’s not much room for error, so (you’ve) got to be pretty good.”
The Kings still had their chances. Trevor Lewis looked like he was going to tie the game for Los Angeles in the final 30 seconds of the second period. The puck careened off the boards and behind Gibson, who was out at the top of his crease, but Lewis somehow put it wide of the open net.
Then Adrian Kempe then hit the outside of the post off a rebound late in the third period, and the Kings did nothing on a subsequent power play for too many men on the ice.
The Kings remain two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Drew Doughty doesn’t seem worried, but knows time is running out. “We’re still fully confident we can turn it on now and get back into that playoff spot we want to be in,” Doughty said. “The longer we wait, the harder it’s going to be.”
LA will try to get back in the win column on Tuesday at Colorado. As for the Ducks, they’ll take on the Coyotes tomorrow night in Phoenix.
Panthers Complete SoCal Sweep With 3-2 Win Over Kings
May 1st, 2013
The game looked like it was in the bag. The Kings were on a 4 minute power play in sudden death overtime, and Jonathan Quick gave the puck away, and the game. So the Kings are down 1-0 to the Blues in their best of seven 1st round series. Did the Kings really deserve to win though? Probably not.
No matter how much respect the Kings were saying they had for the Blues, they were well aware of the fact they have owned them for the past year, and had been beating them into the ground. Daryl Sutter even said “a handful of guys” weren’t ready for the physical beating the Blues put on the Kings early. I think he really meant that Jake Muzzin and Keaton Ellerby didn’t expect to get their asses kicked as badly as they did. The Blues were obviously tired of the Kings pushing them around, and that’s why they dominated the first two periods of play.
So a fiercely determined Blues team gave the Kings their best shot, and it resulted in a 2-1 win for St. Louis in overtime, which they were fortunate to win. Yes, the Kings could have devastated the Blues by stealing game 1. But if this is the Blues best shot, the Kings can easily take this series.
Jonathan Quick made 40 saves, and looked pretty close to the guy who dominated last spring. The only goal he gave up in regulation was a power play goal, in which he made a spectacular initial first save on. Quick also showed us that he was mentally tough last spring, bouncing back from any soft goals he allowed and carried the Kings at key moments. No reason to think he can’t bounce back here.
This isn’t to say the Kings don’t have anything to worry about. They’ll need Matt Green’s physical presence back in the lineup, and they’ll have to get a much stronger forecheck going earlier in the game to wear down the Blues. They’ll also need to get Kopitar and their other big guns going, but LA has far more talent up front than the Blues. If the Kings come out and match the Blues physicality on Thursday night, no reason to think they can’t tie this series up before heading back to LA this weekend.
Kings Beef Up Blue Line With Regehr
April 1st, 2013
The Kings have made a deal! TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that the Buffalo Sabres have traded defenseman Robyn Regehr to the Kings for two of 2nd round draft picks. According to Kings GM Dean Lombardi, the deal is pending Regehr passing a physical.
This may not have been the splashy deal that some Kings fans were hoping for, but it adds some very important depth to their depleted defensive core. Defenseman Matt Greene is still at least a month away from returning from a back injury, and Willie Mitchell remins out indefinitely after off-season knee surgery.
The 32 year old Regehr is a very physical, stay-at-home defenseman, who should also help improve the Kings 15th ranked penalty killing unit, down from 4th best in the league last season. Regehr is earning a $4 million salary this season, and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
Although the 2nd round draft picks seems like a hefty price to pay, this was a much needed move for the Kings. Jake Muzzin and Keaton Ellerby’s play have been a very pleasant surprises for the Kings thus far, but it’s unrealistic to expect such a high level of play from these inexperienced players when you get into the playoffs and start seeing quality opponents over a 7 game series.
Interestingly enough, with the acquisition of Regehr, the Kings are one player over the maximum roster size of 23, which means one player will have to be sent to Manchester, or another trade would have to be made. Given the fact the Kings will not have a 1st round pick this year (Sent to Columbus in the Jeff Carter Trade), Dean Lombardi may even look to move Alec Martinez or Davis Drewiske for a pick or two.
Although some fans were hoping the team would add more fire power up front by acquiring a Jerome Iginla or Jaromir Jagr, the Kings aren’t in desperate need of offense, and the price for those veterans was enormous. The Kings have scored the 6th most goals in the NHL this season, much improved from last season’s 29th place finish.