Defense Is The Catalyst For The Los Angeles Kings

ALSO: Something important that you might not know about Marian Gaborik, praise for Alec Martinez, and video not available anywhere else of post-practice interviews on December 19, 2014, with Los Angeles Kings forwards Dustin Brown and Justin Williams, defenseman Jake Muzzin, and head coach Darryl Sutter.


LA Kings winger Marian Gaborik
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — A common refrain heard among those who follow the Los Angeles Kings is that scoring is down and their top players are not producing as they should.

Although they are not clicking at the 3.38 goals per game rate they achieved during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (top team in the playoffs), the Kings are not exactly terrible either, scoring an average of 2.70 goals per game, ranked 16th in the National Hockey League this season—right in the middle of the pack.

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Frozen Royalty’s Gann Matsuda Appears On Montreal Hockey Talk, December 12, 2014

ONTARIO, CA — On December 12, 2014, prior to the start of the Los Angeles Kings vs. Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre in Montreal, I was a guest on MontrealHockeyTalk.com’s pre-game show, sharing what’s been happening with the Kings of late with hosts Steven Hindle and Corey Collard.

During the approximately 17-minute interview, we talked about Anze Kopitar’s season-long struggles, the emergence of Brayden McNabb, the strong play of Jake Muzzin, the loss of Slava Voynov, the impact of Darryl Sutter, and more.

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LA Kings On Their Current Road Trip: “This Is A Perfect Opportunity For Us”

“We’re going to need to put some segments together, some streaks
to get some points to secure a playoff spot.”
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are in Buffalo where they begin a five-game road swing tonight (4:30 PM PST, televised on Fox Sports West in Southern California, and on NBCSN nationally), a trip they believe is one where they need to start putting together some wins.

But the first game of this trip could be a trap game. Indeed, the Buffalo Sabres are last in the Eastern Division, 15th in the 16-team Eastern Conference, and 28th in the 30-team National Hockey League.

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LA Kings: Players Lament Lack Of Consistency, But Darryl Sutter Is Looking At His Best Players

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar has struggled this season, and head coach
Darryl Sutter tried to light a fire under him, and other players, after
practice on December 7, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — One day after they got off to another slow start against a lesser opponent and paid for it with a loss, the Los Angeles Kings were already looking ahead to their upcoming five-game road trip, one in which they know that they need to start stringing together some wins to keep themselves in a playoff spot, and, they hope, improve their position in the standings.

As mentioned, a big problem has been slow starts.

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LA Kings Rookie Brayden McNabb Is “…Our Youngest Defenseman…He’s Only Going To Get Better”

VIDEO: Also includes video of interviews with Brayden McNabb and head coach Darryl Sutter after practice on December 5, 2014.


LA Kings rookie defenseman Brayden McNabb, shown here during practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California on December 5, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Things have begun to look up for the Los Angeles Kings over the last three weeks, as the team has shown signs of pulling all aspects of their game together.

In their last nine games, the Kings are 6-2-1, with wins over Anaheim, Florida, Carolina, Minnesota, Boston and Arizona during that span, along with regulation losses to Dallas and Chicago, and a shootout loss to Nashville.

Doing his part to contribute towards the Kings’ recent rise has been rookie defenseman Brayden McNabb, who has contributed eight assists in those nine games, and has tallied at least one assist in six of their last eight.

Prior to that, McNabb recorded just one assist in the first 15 games of the season.

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