Yes, It’s Very Early, But What Ails The Los Angeles Kings?

Forward Trevor Lewis, shown here during practice on October 12, 2015, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ALSO: Don’t miss the latest Sutter-ism from Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter!


EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are a surprising 0-2 to start the 2015-16 National Hockey League regular season, and although they were better in their second game, a 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on October 9 at Staples Center, than they were in a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks during their home and season opener on October 7, the Kings are not playing very well to start the new season.

“There’s been [defensive zone] breakdowns, some forecheck bounces—[opposing teams] have scored some goals, and have taken us out of the game,” said right wing Tyler Toffoli. “It’s hard to come back when they’re scoring early goals.”

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LA Kings Tanner Pearson Is Looking For Chemistry and Consistency Right Off The Bat

LA Kings left wing Tanner Pearson
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — January 10, 2015 marked the start of the second half of the 2014-15 National Hockey League season for the Los Angeles Kings, proved to be a huge, dark cloud that would hang over the remainder of their season with the loss of then-rookie left wing Tanner Pearson.

That night, the Kings skated against the Winnipeg Jets, suffering a 5-4 shootout loss, but more significantly, Pearson slammed into the end boards, feet first, breaking his left leg.

To that point in the season, Pearson was still in the conversation for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year, having scored twelve goals and adding 14 assists, with 14 penalty minutes and a +14 plus/minus rating in 42 games.

Head coach Darryl Sutter indicated that Pearson was on the verge of returning to the lineup when the Kings’ 2014-15 season ended rather unceremoniously last April, as they missed the playoffs.

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Darryl Sutter Says LA Kings’ Top Players “Hit A Wall From The Last Three Years”

VIDEO: Includes video interviews with Los Angeles Kings forwards Marian Gaborik and Tyler Toffoli, along with head coach Darryl Sutter.


LA Kings left wing Marian Gaborik, shown here at a recent practice.
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — As reported in this space on March 9, the Los Angeles Kings have been on quite the tear since the National Hockey League All-Star break, with a 13-6-1 record over their last 20 games, good for 27 out of a possible 40 points.

That’s a rather lofty winning percentage of .675.

“We just had to tune our game up and make sure that everybody does their thing, work on special teams, use our forecheck and speed, and make sure that we work as five guys out there,” said left wing Marian Gaborik. “We have been doing that really well lately.”

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Reasons Behind LA Kings’ Recent Success Might Not Be What You Think

LA Kings center Jarret Stoll, shown here during a recent practice.
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Perhaps the most obvious reason that the Los Angeles Kings have won five straight games is because they have scored timely goals and have gotten the balanced scoring they have lacked all season long.

But that’s just the easy answer. The real starting point, when looking for the root cause of the Kings’ recent success lies 200 feet away, in their own zone.

Indeed, much-improved defensive play and penalty-killing have been the fundamental differences and the most important, most significant reasons behind the Kings’ current five-game winning streak.

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Believe It Or Not: Dwight King’s Critical Role In LA Kings’ Recent Success

AUDIO: Includes audio of media interview with Dwight King after practice on Feburary 17, 2015.


LA Kings left wing Dwight King, shown here during a recent practice.
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Since he was called up to the Los Angeles Kings for good in the 2011-12 season when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history, left wing Dwight King has had his share of detractors.

Whether it was his perceived lack of speed or skating ability, his hands, puck-handling, goal scoring—you name it, King has probably been criticized rather heavily for it.

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