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Poor Playoff Performance Shows That LA Kings Anze Kopitar Is Not An Elite Player…Yet

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — At this time last year, the Los Angeles Kings were basking in the glory of their first Stanley Cup Championship in what was then the 45-year history of the franchise.

The team raced through the playoffs, earning an astounding 16-4 record, including ten straight road victories, and they accomplished all that by staying healthy, and getting contributions from everyone in the lineup. But as the old saying goes, a team’s best players have to be their best players in order to achieve post-season success, and that is exactly what the Kings got from goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty, and forwards Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.

But one year later, the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks are in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, which begins tonight in Chicago. Indeed, the Kings failed to defend their Stanley Cup Championship after being eliminated in the Western Conference Final by the Blackhawks in five games, and in a more convincing fashion than the game scores may have indicated.

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Jeff Carter, LA Kings Are Not Thinking About Retaliation After High Stick By Chicago’s Duncan Keith

LA Kings forward Jeff Carter showed off facial injuries when he met
with the media on June 5, 2013, at the team’s practice facility, the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Let’s just say that the aftermath wasn’t pretty.

Indeed, the day after falling victim to a high stick to the face, courtesy of Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter has definitely looked better.

On the play, after Carter appeared to chop at Keith’s glove, which was down on the ice, as Keith was picking it up—Carter’s stick blade may have contacted Keith’s hand—Keith immediately responded by swinging his stick, with the blade striking Carter squarely in the mouth.

“We were battling in front of the net, up the ice,” said Carter. “I think I took a swing at his glove there, he was trying to pick it up. I was in front of him. Next thing I knew, I was getting a stick to the face.”

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2013 Western Conference Final: LA Kings Use Off Day To Go Back To Square One

LA Kings right wing Justin Williams
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Down 2-0 in the 2013 Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Los Angeles Kings are not in a do-or-die situation.

Indeed, they are not facing elimination. That said, they know that they cannot afford to go down in the series, 3-0, not against a healthy Blackhawks team that is now firing on all cylinders, and is getting contributions from all parts of their lineup—highly reminiscent of the Kings team that won the Stanley Cup last season.

“We [were] here, what, three weeks ago,” asked right wing Justin Williams, referring to his team coming back from a 2-0 series deficit in the first round of the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues. “Obviously, it’s four wins or go home, so it’s not do-or-die tomorrow, but it is.”

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LA Kings Need To Fix Scoring Woes, But Problems Don’t Necessarily Start In Offensive Zone

VIDEO: Includes video of portions of media interviews with Los Angeles Kings Rob Scuderi and Justin Williams that are only available from FrozenRoyaltyNHL on YouTube.


LA Kings right wing Justin Williams
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — That their Western Conference Semifinal series against the San Jose Sharks is now tied, 2-2, might be the bottom line for the Los Angeles Kings heading into Thursday’s Game 5 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. But of greater concern is that the Sharks have dictated the pace and controlled play for the vast majority of each game, using a heavy forecheck to keep the Kings bottled up in their own zone.

The fifth game of a National Hockey League playoff series that lasts six or seven games is often the key contest in that series, something that was not lost on the Kings.

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