LA Kings Are Showing Signs Of Shaken Confidence, Frustration, Tension

LA Kings Defenseman Drew Doughty
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — After an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,230 fans at Staples Center on Thursday night, one has to wonder if the team unity and strength of character that the Los Angeles Kings have become so well known for since they won the Stanley Cup in 2012 has begun to fray.

Indeed, the frustration and tension seemed palpable as soon as the game ended.

As soon as the final horn sounded, Kings players skated to goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, as they usually do with whomever is in goal. But Zatkoff, who had been victimized by blatant turnovers and blown coverages by Kings skaters on all four Detroit goals, appeared to want to have nothing to do with that. In fact, he skated straight to the bench—quicker than usual—and into the dressing room, appearing to completely ignore his teammates.

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LA Kings Are Gambling On Reunification and Chemistry Against Divisional Rivals

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during a recent practice at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
{click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On their recent seven-game road trip, the Los Angeles Kings earned a 3-2-2 record even though they had to shuffle their forward lines after both Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli suffered injuries, forcing them out of the lineup.

Brown returned for the final two games of the trip, but Toffoli remains out of the lineup and did not join the team on their Tuesday afternoon flight to Vancouver, where they will play on Wednesday night, followed by a game at Edmonton on Thursday.

Head coach Darryl Sutter said that Toffoli would not even be examined by doctors again “…for at least a week.” As a result, he has reunited center Anze Kopitar with Brown and Marian Gaborik on a forward line.

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LA Kings Must Solve San Jose Forecheck If They Expect To Win Game 5

LA Kings center Vincent Lecavalier
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On the eve Game 5 of their best-of-seven first round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings, who trail the Sharks in the series, 3-1, opted for video sessions to review their game plan and off-ice workouts, aside from a handful of players who chose to skate.

“We went over some special teams from [Game 4 on April 20 in San Jose], checked on some injuries, and guys got a little workout upstairs,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “The guys who wanted to go on [the ice, went] on.”

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LA Kings Have Lots To Fix In Short Amount of Time Before Game 3 vs. San Jose

LA Kings forward Marian Gaborik
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — That the Los Angeles Kings are off to a dreadful start to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs is not just surprising, but you could say that it is also understating the situation.

Sure, one could argue that they overcame greater odds in 2014 when they came all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit against the San Jose Sharks to win their first round playoff series, 4-3.

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Frozen Royalty Video: Gaborik, Ehrhoff After LA Kings 3-2 OT Win Over Chicago

LOS ANGELES — After spotting the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks a 2-0 lead, Jeff Carter scored early in the third period, Marian Gaborik tied the game late in the third period, and then Gaborik scored the overtime game-winner on a breakaway to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win on Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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