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.
No more jokes about not being able to spell drought without Doughty. Drew got his first goal of the season with a shot from the left faceoff circle through traffic 6:28 into the second period Tuesday night at Staples Center. The Kings built a 2-0 lead in the second period over the Phoenix Coyotes for the second consecutive night. Meanwhile, the Coyotes’ scoreless streak reached 234:05, a franchise record. The Coyotes haven’t scored since their victory last Tuesday over the Kings in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes’ previous mark of futility was 226:21, set from Feb. 25 to March 3, 1998.
Came across this gem of a quote on the audio recorder from Kings captain Dustin Brown, who credited the play of young defensemen, including Slava Voynov, for the team’s recent surge in scoring. They are passing the puck more efficiently to the forwards and also contributing scoring, where everyone was coming up (almost) empty to start the season.
First periods have been as tedious as third periods have been exciting lately for the Kings. There were only a handful of compelling moments in Thursday’s opening period, with Jaromir Jagr scoring on a power play for the Dallas Stars and Trevor Lewis countering with an even-strength strike for the Kings. Drew Doughty, looking for his first goal of the season, made a pretty move as he swept around the back of the net, but Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen denied him on a wraparound try.