Kings center Anze Kopitar assisted on Marian Gaborik’s second-period goal for his 600th point in the NHL on Saturday at Staples Center. It was one of the Kings’ few highlights in a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Kopitar has 216 goals and 384 assists. He tied Butch Goring for sixth place on the franchise’s all-time list for assists and became the seventh player to reach 600 points in a Kings uniform.
Kings forward Tyler Toffoli needed a little coaxing to talk to reporters after his boarding major and game misconduct led to the go-ahead power-play goal for the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday at Staples Center. When he did speak, he wasn’t particularly candid at first, but then he owned up to his mistake.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Toffoli said of his hit from behind that sent Vancouver’s Alex Burrows crashing into the boards in front of the Kings’ bench. “It all happened really quickly. I haven’t seen anything yet (on the replay). … Then I came into the room, and I haven’t thought about it too much.”
Later, he got a bit more expansive.
“It sucks,” Toffoli said of his boarding major and game misconduct and what happened as a result of the play. “I wish it didn’t happen. I wish we had won the game. I feel like it’s on my shoulders right now, and it’s not a good feeling.”
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was asked after the morning skate Wednesday if he believed the players relished another chance at facing the Kings in the playoffs. The Kings ousted the Ducks in the second round last spring and went on to win their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons.
“We hope they don’t make it,” Boudreau said. “I mean, they’re a great team. They’re Stanley Cup champions. They’ve got that blood in them. Three years in a row they’ve been in the final four. Be careful what you wish for.”
The Kings’ victory over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final last June was named the top moment in sports in Los Angeles for 2014 at the 10th annual L.A. Sports Awards on Sunday at The Beverley Hilton Hotel. The Kings’ game against the Ducks at Dodger Stadium, the first NHL game played outdoors in California, was selected as the eighth-best moment. Prime Ticket will air the awards show March 25 at 7:30 p.m., and it will have multiple showings on ensuing days. Check your local listings, as the saying goes.
COYOTES AT KINGS
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
The Kings (33-22-13) are ninth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Winnipeg Jets in the battle for the second wild-card berth. The Kings, fourth in the Pacific Division, also trail the third-place Calgary Flames by two points. They have 14 games remaining, but only five at home. The Jets have 13 games left, including eight at home. The Flames have 13 remaining, including seven at home. The Kings’ penalty killers have been successful on 39 of their last 41 shorthanded situations, dating to Feb. 12 against the Calgary Flames. But they gave up a key power-play goal in the third period of a 2-1 loss Saturday to the Nashville Predators. Jeff Carter had the Kings’ only goal, his team-leading 24th. The Coyotes (21-40-8) have been eliminated from the playoff race and are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. Arizona goalie Mike Smith is 11-4-1 with two shutouts, a 2.26 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 17 games in his career against the Kings.
KINGS AT CANUCKS
Faceoff: 7 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
The Kings (32-21-13) edged closer to a playoff spot with a 5-2 victory Tuesday over the Colorado Avalanche in the first game of a two-game trip. They were tied with Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division going into the Flames’ home game Wednesday against the Ducks. But the Flames led the Kings in the tiebreaking category of victories in regulation play or overtime, 32-30. The Kings also were only one point behind the Winnipeg Jets in the race for the second of two wild-card spots. The Jets only have 27 wins in regulation or OT, however. Justin Williams tied his career high with three assists in the Kings’ win Monday. Andrej Sekera recorded his first point, an assist, since the Kings acquired him last month. The second-place Canucks are 38-24-4 after a 2-1 victory Monday over the Ducks.
Looks like Tuesday was a rough night in Denver for the retired gentleman, as Kings coach Darryl Sutter once called the folks who keep track of the statistics for the NHL at the league’s games, There were a couple of significant scoring chances in the Kings’ 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
The Kings’ first goal now reads: Marian Gaborik from Brayden McNabb and Justin Williams at 7:47 of the first period. So, take away an assist to Dustin Brown and add one for Williams, who ended up with three for the game.
The Kings’ third goal now reads: Kyle Clifford from Justin Williams and Andrej Sekera at 14:25 of the first period. So, take away a goal for McNabb and add an assist for Sekera, his first point since the Kings acquired him last month.
KINGS AT AVALANCHE
Faceoff: 6 p.m. TV/Radio: NBCSN, 790-AM
The Kings (31-21-13) left for a two-game trip mired in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. It’s difficult to imagine the reigning Stanley Cup champions missing the playoffs, but time is short and the teams ahead of them are playing well. (Vancouver defeated the Ducks on Monday, for instance). The Kings must improve their play away from Staples Center if they are to move up. They are 10-14-6 on the road, and play all but six of their final 17 games away from home. They have 10 games left against teams in playoff spots. The Kings also must find a way to score more goals. They have been blanked 1-0 twice in their last six games and their 175 total goals ranks as the fewest of any of the playoff contenders in the West. Colorado is 30-25-11.
A reporter asked Kings coach Darryl Sutter if every game from now until the end of the regular season is must-win. Here’s how Sutter responded after the Kings’ 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Staples Center:
“There’s no must anywhere. You don’t have to do anything. You try and win. There is no such thing as a must-win. Nobody gets locked up or thrown in the ocean or anything like that. Other than that, it’s just a game.”