LA Kings Brayden McNabb Looks Like An Improved Player

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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Last season, young defenseman Brayden McNabb got off to a somewhat rocky start to his second full season in the National Hockey League. In fact, he was a healthy scratch for the Los Angeles Kings in their season opener against the San Jose Sharks (5-1 loss) due to what head coach Darryl Sutter characterized as a “rough training camp.” The now-25-year-old, 6-4, 212-pound native of Davidson, Saskatchewan didn’t score his first goal that season until December 6, 2015, a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

What a difference a year makes.

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Tanner Pearson, Nic Dowd Give LA Kings Much Needed Spark

Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With their 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on October 20 in Dallas, the Los Angeles Kings avoided the first 0-4 start in franchise history, and they did that, in large part, because of the spark provided by left wing Tanner Pearson and rookie center Nic Dowd.

After being a healthy scratch in the first two games of the season, Dowd made his season debut on October 18 at Minnesota, a 6-3 loss. But on October 20 at Dallas, he opened the scoring on the power play at 8:18 of the first period, finishing off a nifty passing with a deke move that Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen bit on, giving Dowd an open right side of the net to shoot at for his first National Hockey League goal.

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LA Kings: No Quick? No Problem

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Looking back to a cold, dark night in Buffalo, New York on November 12, 2013, Los Angels Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick suffered a grade 2 groin strain in a game against the Buffalo Sabres, forcing him to miss significant time.

Media, pundits and fans—just about everyone predicted that the Kings would go into a tailspin without their superstar goaltender. But what happened next surprised shocked the hockey world, as Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones stepped up to backstop the Kings to points in 17 of their next 19 games, putting the Kings in position to go on to win the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship.

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LA Kings Are Looking To Exorcise Their Demons From The 2015-16 Season

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during an October 2016 practice at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With opening night for their 2016-17 National Hockey League season upon them, the Los Angeles Kings would like to exorcise their demons from last season by forgetting all about the way they played down the stretch.

Indeed, the Kings flew through much of the season, leading the Pacific Division for a long, long time. But not only did they blow a 14-point lead in the standings, once they clinched a playoff berth after a win over the Boston Bruins at Staples Center in Los Angeles on March 19, 2016, they went into the tank the rest of the way. In fact, they struggled to a poor 4-6-1 record in the final eleven games of the regular season. To make matters worse, three of those wins came against Pacific Division bottom-dwellers, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, with the fourth win coming against a disinterested Anaheim Ducks team that had already clinched the Pacific Division title.

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Jeff Zatkoff Has Come Full Circle With LA Kings

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, shown here during
their 2016 Training Camp at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For Los Angeles Kings faithful, if the name “Jeff Zatkoff” doesn’t ring a bell, beyond the fact that he played for the 2016 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, it should.

Indeed, Zatkoff got his start in professional hockey with the Kings, who selected him in the third round (74th overall) of the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft. But that was also the year that they selected goaltender Jonathan Bernier in the first round (11th overall), and one year prior, they selected Jonathan Quick in the third round (72nd overall).

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