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For LA Kings Rookie Alex Iafallo, “It’s Wall Play”

Los Angeles Kings forward Alex Iafallo (center), shown here during a recent practice with
goaltender Jonathan Quick and defenseman Derek Forbort (right)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After the Los Angeles Kings’ overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on December 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, a reporter noted that rookie forward Alex Iafallo was not on the ice very much, and asked head coach John Stevens if Iafallo was hurt.

“He was not hurt,” said Stevens, very abruptly, and without elaboration.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, to be sure.

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Speed and Smarts Are Keeping Alex Iafallo On LA Kings Top Line

Los Angeles Kings rookie left wing Alex Iafallo
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — As his rookie season progresses through its third month, left wing Alex Iafallo continues to make a very solid impression with the Los Angeles Kings, and has, for the most part, remained a fixture on their top line with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.

“It’s been awesome, so far,” said Iafallo. “Three months into the the NHL season—it’s pretty cool. I’m loving it, loving every experience I get. I’ve just got to keep working hard.”

“Three months have flown by,” added Iafallo. “Right now, we’re in a tough part of our schedule, playing every other day. I’ve just got to prepare for it, mentally and physically.”

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Torrid Pace Has Helped Anze Kopitar Put LA Kings On His Back

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Through the Los Angeles Kings’ first 29 games of the 2017-18 season, to say that center Anze Kopitar is on a torrid pace would be understating things by a long shot.

Indeed, Kopitar is so hot that he’s on pace to set new career highs in goals, assists and points.

In 29 games this season, Kopitar, who ranks fifth in the National Hockey League in overall scoring, has scored 15 goals and has contributed 19 assists for 34 points, with a +11 plus/minus rating. Not only are his numbers far cries from those he put up last season through the same number of games, but his goal total already exceeds the 12 goals he scored last season.

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What’s Fueling The Flying Start By LA Kings Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown?

Los Angeles Kings center and captain Anze Kopitar
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are only three games into the 2017-18 National Hockey League season, but with Anze Kopitar scoring three goals and adding three assists for six points, with a +6 plus/minus rating in those games, he is already way ahead of the curve.

Indeed, last season, although the entire team struggled, Kopitar scored just twelve goals. He didn’t score his third goal of the 2016-17 season until December 13, 2016, against the Buffalo Sabres (a 6-3 loss), 23 games into the season.

“I’m happy with my start, and the way things are going right now, but not a whole lot has changed,” said Kopitar. “I had a good off-season. I feel good, and there’s definitely one of those [luck] things going, where you see a couple go in, especially [my] second one in San Jose [a 4-1 win on October 7], when it bounces off the guy’s stick and goes in. That makes you feel good, feel the puck a little bit better, and see the ice a little bit better. You just try to ride the wave as long as you can.”

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LA Kings Alex Iafallo: Not Your Typical NHL Debut Story

Los Angeles Kings forward Alex Iafallo
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — For any hockey writer covering a young player making his National Hockey League debut, chances are astronomical that he or she is secretly hoping that the player in question will, at least, record an assist, if not score a goal, that his team will win, and that his family, especially his parents, were able to be there to witness it all, first-hand. After all, those factors generally make for a better story.

But for Los Angeles Kings rookie forward Alex Iafallo, he didn’t need to figure in the scoring on October 5, when he made his NHL debut against the Philadelphia Flyers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, a 2-0 win for the Kings.

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