Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture grew up together and played hockey with and against each other in London, Ontario. They remained friends and foes going into Game 1 of the second-round playoff series.
The Kings proved last spring home-ice advantage means nothing in the playoffs, becoming the first eighth-seeded team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup. They didn’t have home-ice advantage for any of the four rounds of the playoffs. That doesn’t mean they want or expect a repeat this spring, according to defenseman Drew Doughty.
“Even though we didn’t need it last year, it’s definitely very important and something that our team really wants,” he said. “The coaches have been harping on us to get that home-ice spot. We kind of blew it the last two games … but we still have a shot at it. We want it. To be able to sleep in your own bed, to be able to be in front of our home fans … it’s hard to go into another team’s barn when the crowd’s going nuts for them and you’ve got to try and steal the first win. But if you’re at home, not that it’s easier, but it’s more comforting.”
The Columbus Blue Jackets weren’t happy to see their five-game winning streak end with a 2-1 loss to the Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center. The Kings weren’t thrilled with the end of the game, when the Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky took what they believed to be a few liberties with defenseman Drew Doughty after the final buzzer. TV replays indicated Doughty initiated the confrontation with a punch as Dubinsky had his back turned. Dubinsky then threw a series of punches at Doughty, drawing a match penalty.
“Just a cheap shot, and that’s his personality” Kings enforcer Kyle Clifford said of Dubinsky’s actions. “We’ve got guys out there and he goes after Doughty, who’s not our toughest player, not the smartest thing. But we got the win.”
The evolution of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty continued Saturday night at Staples Center. The numbers might not reflect it, but years from now Doughty might very well look back on the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season as a turning point in his career.
Doughty went into the Kings’ game against the rival Ducks with four goals and 14 assists in 41 games, off the pace for last season’s 10 goals and 26 assists in 77 games. He admitted it bothered him to see his production slow to only a trickle.
Late-night reading …
It was a goaltenders’ duel at times, a test of wills at others, and frequently a bone-jarring matchup of teams looking ahead to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Mostly, though, it was a game in which a bounce here and a deflection there determined the outcome.
The Kings squeezed past the Ducks 2-1 by the barest of margins, with Mike Richards slotting a perfectly-placed shot into the back of the net for the decisive goal late in the second period Saturday night at Staples Center.
Drew Doughty figures he’s been paired with every Kings defenseman at one point or another this season except Slava Voynov. He’s played with Robyn Regehr steadily since Regehr was acquired in a trade earlier this month from the Buffalo Sabres. Doughty talked Saturday about their union and how their strengths mesh. Doughty talked about the player he’s likely to form a shut-down tandem with for the upcoming playoffs.
“Robyn’s kind of strictly defense,” he said. “He’s not going to jump up in the play. It gives me the opportunity to jump up every time I can. He’s always back there, solid. For the most part, I noticed he’s going to make the simple play. He’s not going to make that saucer pass over a stick or anything like that. He’s either going to go straight up to a winger (with a pass) or over to me. I want the puck in my hands as much as I can have it, and if he’s going to keep giving it to me, I love that. So far, we’ve worked really well together and I think as we get used to play with each other we’re going to get better and better.”
The Kings and Ducks have made the Stanley Cup playoffs in the same season only once, but it’s soon to happen a second time. The defending champion Kings are almost a lock to advance, starting Monday in fourth place in the Western Conference. The Ducks are a lock to make it, sitting in second in the West before their game against the Edmonton Oilers. They’re not likely to meet in the first round, though it would be a fun matchup, according to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
“We would love that matchup,” Doughty said after Sunday’s game between the teams. “We always play hard against Anaheim, but they play hard against us, too. It would be a good playoff series for the fans to watch and I think it would make that rivalry a little stronger.”
Wouldn’t agree with Kings defenseman Drew Doughty’s assessment of the Kings’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Ducks on Sunday night, but I can appreciate his pride in how well he and his teammates played in rallying three times to force OT and a shootout.
Veteran center Anze Kopitar shared his thoughts about the play of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who ended a 28-game scoring drought to start the season during a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center.
Drew Doughty said his 28-game goal-scoring drought didn’t worry him in the least.
He also admitted he lied.
Doughty’s first goal of the season came as a giant relief to the Kings’ defenseman. It also propelled the Kings to a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center, a game that also featured a career-high 40 saves for goaltender Jonathan Bernier.