Three things about the L.A. Kings shootout loss to the Islanders

Kings forward Dwight King, left, scored the only goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Islanders. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Kings forward Dwight King, left, scored the only goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Islanders. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

 

Dwight King scored the KIngs’ only goal during a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday at Staples Center. Brock Nelson countered for the Islanders, who also got shootout goals from Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen. Jonathan Quick robbed former Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky from point-blank range after an excellent cross-ice pass from another ex-King, Thomas Hickey, in overtime.

Here are three things that stood out about Thursday’s defeat:

First, the Kings sorely missed winger Justin Williams, who couldn’t play after suffering an eye injury during their victory Tuesday over the Dallas Stars. Williams’ place on the Kings’ top line with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik was taken by Jordan Nolan, a grinder who works his tail off but doesn’t have the scoring touch. The Kings couldn’t say when Williams might be back in the lineup. They hoped they would have to play without him for only one game. With goals at a premium, the Kings need all the offensive help they can get at this point in the season.

Second, Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said it best when asked how the Kings can generate more scoring chances and more goals. “Instead of trying to look for cute plays on the outside, putting it (the puck) on net and driving it,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting pucks to the net.” The Kings played far too often on the perimeter. When they did drive to the net, King scored on a pinball deflection off a centering pass from teammate Mike Richards only 3:49 into the game.

Third, it’s obvious by now that the Kings are skating with targets on their backs. It comes with the territory as defending Stanley Cup champions. You could see from the opening minutes that the Islanders were not content with a split of their games in Southern California. They got two points in Anaheim on Wednesday and were determined to secure two more Thursday in Los Angeles. The Kings should know by now the rest of the league wants to knock them off their lofty perch. Thursday’s game was simply more evidence of it.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Three things about the L.A. Kings victory over the Blue Jackets

Here are the first few paragraphs of Sunday’s game story:

One of these days, the Kings won’t be able to rely on only three players to score in order to win. One of these games, Jeff Carter, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli won’t be able to continue to work their magic. Sooner or later, an opposing team will shut them down.

It’s bound to happen eventually, right?

Perhaps, but certainly not during the Kings’ 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Staples Center. Pearson scored two goals in the third period, Toffoli added one goal and three assists and Carter recorded a goal and two assists. Overall, That 70s Line has combined to score 16 of the Kings’ 21 goals in the run of play.

Here are three things about the Kings’ sixth consecutive victory:

First, center Anze Kopitar suffered an unspecified upper-body injury after a collision behind the net in the second period and could not return to the game. How serious it is remains to be seen. Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said: “He’s all right,” Sutter then had the same response when a reporter asked if Kopitar could make the Kings’ five-game trip, which begins Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Second, the Kings’ depth is sure to be put to the test sooner rather than later, especially if Kopitar is sidelined for any length of time. Or if he’s at something less than 100 percent for an extended period. Marian Gaborik and Trevor Lewis are each sidelined by upper-body injuries and not expected to play soon. Defenseman Slava Voynov continues to serve an indefinite suspension by the NHL after his arrest last week on domestic violence charges. Salary-cap issues mean the Kings can’t recall a player from their AHL team in Manchester N.H.

Third, Dwight King’s second-period goal gave the Kings a fourth player to score this season. Tanner Pearson has seven goals, Jeff Carter has five and Tyler Toffoli four, Kopitar has two and King, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams have won each. That 70s Line, as Pearson, Carter and Toffoli are known, has accounted for 16 of the Kings’ 21 goals in the run of play this season. It’s an amazing run by a talented line, but it’s also potentially damaging since they’re bound to cool off eventually and others simply have to step up and contribute more to the bottom line.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Three things about the Kings shootout victory over the Ducks

Jordan Nolan, Dwight King and Tyler Toffoli scored in regulation play and King supplied the winner in the shootout as the Kings defeated the Ducks 4-3 on Thursday at Staples Center. Toffoli assisted on King’s second-period goal and Martin Jones had 25 saves. Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ win:

First, Toffoli could be poised for a breakout season for the Kings. We’ve seen flashes of offensive brilliance from him from time to time, never more than during the playoffs while skating with Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson. He scored a superb goal Thursday against the Ducks and set up King for the goal that tied the score at 2 in the second period. The pass was the better play than the shot, so he slipped a cross-ice pass to King, who beat Ducks goalie John Gibson. Here’s a link to the video highlights: http://kings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=731825&navid=DL|LAK|home

Second, Ryan Kesler is going to be a major pain in the butt for everyone in the NHL now that he’s with the Ducks, a team that learned it must be better up the middle after losing to the Kings in the second round of the playoffs last spring. He’s strong on the puck, makes a pest of himself around the net and when placed in the right spot he could be a difference-maker against the Kings’ formidable centers, including Anze Kopitar.

Third, has everybody had enough of the preseason yet? Let’s get going, shall we?

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

King remains with the Kings

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi scratched one final item off his summer to-do list Wednesday when he announced the team agreed to terms with left wing Dwight King on a new three-season contract. King, a restricted free agent, was the last of the KIngs’ unsigned players. The Kings are the only team for which King has played during his NHL career. He has 24 goals and 30 assists in 157 games with the Kings over four seasons. He helped them win Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and ’14. He set career highs with 15 goals and 15 assists in 77 games in 2013-14. In addition, he had three goals and eight assists in 26 playoff games.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

King weighs in on his controversial goal for the Kings

Dwight King talked about his goal in Game 2, in which it looked like he should’ve been called for goaltender interference. He saw the replay once in the locker room and hasn’t watched it since.
“Once the goal stood we moved on from that game,” King said. “Obviously with the playoffs, it’s a pretty rapid schedule. You do try to move on and focus on the next one.”
That was difficult as the Rangers were talking about it seemingly for two days and weren’t happy about the no-call there. Asked if he thought there was goaltender interference after the game, Alain Vigneault said: “Ask the NHL.”
King wasn’t worried about the noise. “Nothing is going to come over it,” King said. “Nothing to stress over or think about it. The call was made. Once it stands, it stands. There’s nothing to talk about.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Rangers still upset about no-call on Dwight King’s third-period goal in Game 2

Upon further review, the Rangers still didn’t believe Dwight King’s third-period goal in Game 2 shouldn’t have counted because they said the Kings’ grinding forward should have been whistled for making contact with New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. King didn’t wish to talk about it, ducking a couple of questions.

“I know they came back from a two-goal deficit (Saturday) night, but their third goal, you can look at it any way you want (but) at the end of the day, that shouldn’t have been a goal in my opinion,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday.

“They got three chances in the third, if you count that one. Two of them went in. We were a little bit unlucky. We were playing real solid. Sometimes stuff like that happens. I believe it’s going to even out and I believe we’re going to win the next game.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

A couple notes from the morning skate.

Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice at the Kings’ morning skate at Toyota Sports Center. No surprise that he will start and Martin Jones will be the backup. That’s been the case in six of the Kings’ last seven games.

Speaking of backup goalies, there will be another mini-reunion at Staples Center tonight. Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi got plenty of ink yesterday (including here), and rightfully so after playing an integral role in the Kings’ Stanley Cup run in 2012.

Pens goaltender Jeff Zatkoff never appeared a game in a Kings uniform, but he has plenty of friends in the home dressing room. Zatkoff, who’s expected to back up Marc-Andre Fleury tonight, was at one time a teammate with Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli and Jones at AHL Manchester. The 26-year-old was a third-round draft pick out of Miami of Ohio in 2006 by the Kings. He was buried on the depth chart behind Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier. In hindsight, he might have had to wait until this year to play an NHL game in Los Angeles.

1 p.m. update: Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters that Zatkoff is starting tonight.
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Reports from Vancouver indicate Jeff Carter could play against Canucks

Jeff Carter hasn’t played since suffering a foot injury in the Kings’ overtime victory Oct. 30 over the San Jose Sharks. Reporters in Vancouver posted blog items indicating it was possible Carter could be back in the Kings’ lineup for Monday’s game against the Canucks. He was expected to skate with Mike Richards and Dwight King. The Kings must activate Carter from injured reserve, however, and make a corresponding move to make room for him on their 23-man roster.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick, who is expected to be sidelined by a groin strain until Christmas at the earliest, would be the likely candidate to be put on IR.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Looking ahead to the Kings’ game Sunday against the New York Rangers

With a victory today, the Kings (13-6-1) can win their third game in a row and take seven out of a possible eight points on their four-game trip to play the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and the Rangers.

Dwight King scored the only goal the Kings would need in a 2-0 victory Saturday over the Devils, his sixth in 20 games. Justin Williams leads the Kings with seven goals. King had a strong training camp and Kings coach Darryl Sutter singled him out for praise heading into the regular season. Sutter said King had the best training camp of all the Kings, which had reporters rolling their eyes.

Well, Sutter must have seen something because King has lived up to the coach’s expectations and then some, filling a key role while forwards Jeff Carter (foot), Kyle Clifford (concussion) and Jarret Stoll (upper body) were sidelined by injuries. Stoll returned to the lineup Saturday, but Carter and Clifford are expected to be out for several more games. King has been a steady contributor.

The Rangers were 9-9-0 going into Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. They handled the Kings during the home-opening game at Staples Center back in October, but have since proved to be the height of mediocrity.

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email