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LA Kings Have The Advantage over Vegas Golden Knights in the First Round

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar shown here during a recent practice.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Just hours from now, the city of Las Vegas will host its first major playoff game, with the Vegas Golden Knights hosting the Los Angeles Kings in their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series.

The Golden Knights have quickly built a solid fan base that has made for a very loud T-Mobile Arena, which will likely be even louder in the post-season.

“[One] thing is just the environment there, in Las Vegas,” said Kings winger Dustin Brown. “They’ve been loud for 41 regular season games. Now they get a taste of the playoffs. There’s probably a lot of excitement in that city. We have to be prepared to go in there and deal with that atmosphere.”

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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Has More Important Things To Worry About Than The Hart Memorial Trophy

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net
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EL SEGUNDO, CA — Don’t look now, but with 80 points so far this season, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar needs just one more point to match his career high in points, set in the 2009-10 season when he scored 34 goals and added 47 assists for 81 points in 82 games.

Through 71 games this season, Kopitar ranks eighth in the National Hockey League in overall scoring, with 29 goals and 51 assists for 80 points, with a +16 plus/minus rating, 16 penalty minutes and a 53.9 percent face-off win percentage.

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Vegas Golden Knights Start LA Kings On Critical Stretch vs. Western Conference

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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Ever since 1967, when the National Hockey League held their first expansion draft, growing from their Original Six teams to twelve, expansion teams have been forced to select players from each NHL team who were, generally speaking, not very skilled. That meant the expansion teams would struggle for, at least, a few seasons, if not far longer, just to become a winning team, let alone a playoff team or a Stanley Cup contender.

That remained true through 2000, when the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild entered the league. They struggled just to be relevant for years.

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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
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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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