Reasons Behind LA Kings’ Recent Success Might Not Be What You Think

LA Kings center Jarret Stoll, shown here during a recent practice.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Perhaps the most obvious reason that the Los Angeles Kings have won five straight games is because they have scored timely goals and have gotten the balanced scoring they have lacked all season long.

But that’s just the easy answer. The real starting point, when looking for the root cause of the Kings’ recent success lies 200 feet away, in their own zone.

Indeed, much-improved defensive play and penalty-killing have been the fundamental differences and the most important, most significant reasons behind the Kings’ current five-game winning streak.

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Believe It Or Not: Dwight King’s Critical Role In LA Kings’ Recent Success

AUDIO: Includes audio of media interview with Dwight King after practice on Feburary 17, 2015.


LA Kings left wing Dwight King, shown here during a recent practice.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Since he was called up to the Los Angeles Kings for good in the 2011-12 season when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history, left wing Dwight King has had his share of detractors.

Whether it was his perceived lack of speed or skating ability, his hands, puck-handling, goal scoring—you name it, King has probably been criticized rather heavily for it.

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LA Kings LW Prospect Maxim Kitsyn: “It’s Just Me. I Have To Be Better…It’s Not Anybody Else”

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here
playing for the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When we last checked in with Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn in December 2014, his head coach said that “he wills his way, every shift.”

A couple of months later, that hasn’t changed.

“You know [that] when he puts on the uniform, he’s going to give you 110 percent,” said Jason Christie, head coach of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ current ECHL affiliate. “You see him out there—he works, he competes. That’s why he got a call up—because he battles. He’s determined. I think that’s the biggest thing—how determined he is, as a player.”

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For One Day, Mother Nature Had Her Own Plans For LA Kings D Prospect Derek Forbort

Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Derek Forbort, shown here
during the Kings’ 2013 Rookie Tournament.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Given the odyssey that defenseman prospect Derek Forbort had to endure just to get to Southern California after being recalled by the Los Angeles Kings, he’s lucky to have made it here at all.

Forbort, who has played this season with the Kings’ current American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, was scheduled to leave Boston on February 9, but Mother Nature refused to cooperate.

“I was in Boston, sitting on the plane for about an hour and a half,” said Forbort. “We were on the runway, waiting for the snow to let up, and it never did, so I had to go back to Manchester for the day.”

“We get a blizzard every Monday,” added Forbort. “We literally have about, I think, like six or seven feet of snow. We get it by the foot every Monday, it seems like.”

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Despite Predicament, LA Kings See Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams, shown here
during a recent practice.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With a 2-3-0 record on their annual Grammy road trip, the Los Angeles Kings came up well short of what they needed to do, given their precarious position in the standings.

Despite that, ending the trip with two wins is something they can and hope to build on.

“We were able to salvage a road trip,” said right wing Justin Williams. “It could’ve gotten really ugly.”

“It seems like we’re a team that puts itself in a lot of holes,” added Williams. “We’ve put ourselves in a big one now, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We see it. We’ve won a couple of games, and we know if we win the next few, we’re right back in the mix of making the playoffs. But the hardest part is getting in, and we’ve got to make sure we do that in order to defend [as Stanley Cup Champions].”

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