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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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Kopitar. Stevens Talk Offense, Defense Ahead of LA Kings 2017-18 Season Opener

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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The fact that the Los Angeles Kings averaged 2.85 goals per game in seven pre-season games does not mean very much, given different lineups and the fact that those games don’t count in the standings. That said, that number is a considerable improvement over the Kings 2016-17 numbers—they averaged a meager 2.43 goals per game last season. To be sure, their offense was anemic, and that’s putting it mildly.

But in the 2017-18 pre-season, the Kings emphasis on increased goal scoring and getting pucks and bodies to the front of the opponent’s net has been very much apparent. But even though the number of goals scored per game during the pre-season won’t mean much unless it turns out to be a harbinger of things to come in the regular season, what is significant is that the majority of the goals were scored either because of traffic in front of the net, or because shots came from dangerous areas of the ice, including right around the net.

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Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille Have Much To Build Upon As New Leadership for LA Kings

From left to right: Dan Beckerman, President/CEO. Anschutz Entertainment Group; Luc Robitaille, President, Los Angeles Kings; Rob Blake, Vice President/General Manager, Los Angeles Kings.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — On April 11, the new leadership of the Los Angeles Kings made their debut during a press conference at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where they discussed the need for change.

But before he looked ahead, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Dan Beckerman, praised former Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi and former head coach Darryl Sutter, who were fired on April 10.

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LA Kings: Dealing With Frustration On Two Levels All Season

Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here at a recent practice.
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — With nine games left and being eight points out of a wild card playoff berth, the Los Angeles Kings’ playoff chances are virtually non-existent. But they’re not eliminated and to their credit, they continue to claw, scratch and fight.

“We’re still alive,” said left wing Tanner Pearson. “We’ll take it game-by-game and focus on two points at a time.”

“We’ve got to win every game,” said defenseman Jake Muzzin. “We’ve got to play with emotion and desperation. [Against Winnipeg on March 23], coming out in the third period, I felt like we were attacking. We’ve got to start games like that and play that way for the full 60 minutes.”

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