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Tag: Anze Kopitar

Are The Kings An Actual Threat To The Golden Knights Repeat?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Sound the alarms the Golden Knights dropped another game. Even worse, they lost to a second Pacific Division team. So far this week the Stanley Cup champions dreadfully lost back-to-back games for the first time since losing Game’s 4 & 5 of the Western Conference finals. It’s time to sarcastically panic.

You work for your bounces. They did a good job getting to the net. We had our looks, we just didn’t capitalize on them. -Mark Stone

Last night’s 4-1 loss to the LA Kings was not exactly an upset. Of course, the Golden Knights were favored and held a better record but their counterparts from Los Angeles have been storming to keep it tight in the division. Entering the game, LA was riding a three-game win streak and points in six straight games. While the Golden Knights have stolen most of the headlines coming out of Pacific this season, the Kings have quietly made history of their own. After Wednesday’s game, LA became the eighth team to win their first seven road games. In reality, the two teams are closer than some expected.

So, should the Golden Knights consider the Kings a threat?

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Kings Humbled By Golden Knights 1st Period Domination

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night most Golden Knights fans were prepared for an entertaining, nail-biting battle with the LA Kings. The problem was, only one team showed up in time. Sure, the math wasn’t in their favor but coming into Thursday’s clash but the Kings had a chance to make things uncomfortable for the Pacific Division’s leader. However, the Golden Knights came out firing and sunk the Kings in the opening 11 minutes.

We got a break with the disallowed goal. That helped us. We talked a little more in depth about LA’s system and a little deeper dive than maybe some other teams we played. Our forecheck was outstanding. Guys were real dedicated to that game plan tonight. I always say against teams that are very good defensively, play a certain way and if you get a lead, it may take them out of their structure a little bit. A lot of playoff hockey mentality. -Bruce Cassidy

Before the game was 22 minutes old, the Golden Knights were up a handful of goals. The Kings looked disengaged, out-of-sorts, and tired. After the opening goal was called back, Vegas pounced on the reversal and took charge of the game and the division.

Not only did the Golden Knights crush any chance the Kings had at moving up the standings, but they left the visitors questioning their effort and focus.

The other day I gave credit to the team as whole. I said it was a team win, tonight was a team loss. There were very few players that were engaged early. You can’t play like that at this time of the year. We haven’t had one of those periods in a long, long time. It’s a little humbling when it does happen. That won’t be good enough for the rest of the season and the playoffs. We know that. All of their damage was done in the first seven minutes so you shouldn’t be worn out at that point. You just weren’t ready to play. – Todd McLellan, Kings coach

Just about the only statistic the Kings were in control of was hits. While LA threw their bodies around, Vegas possessed the puck and heavily pressured the offensive zone. Outside of a couple of special teams tallies, the Kings were completely overwhelmed by the Golden Knights attack. According to Cassidy, his team executed their plan to clog and control the inside of the King’s net.

Power play got us a good goal early on. Stephenson’s line had lots of jump and got rewarded. Phil took one to the net. All of the little things. Inside hockey. We talked about it; you’ve got to get inside. At least two goals on top of the crease. A lot of good things. -Cassidy

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Jonathan Quick Won’t Give Sound Bites Motivating Former Team Or Other Contenders

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Although it may have looked strange, goaltender Jonathan Quick suited up in his golden armor for the first time last night.

Quick was on the bench backing up Adin Hill looking surprisingly comfortable in another Pacific Division’s team hat and jersey. The lifetime LA King is now a member of the team he lost to in the 2018 playoffs and is prepared to make a run with his new team in 2023.

I’m looking forward to this opportunity. I’m coming into a locker room where I’ve played with seven or eight of these guys. The comfort level is there right away. I’m just looking forward to helping this team, win some hockey games. I don’t want to give sound bites. I am excited for this opportunity. It’s a great organization, it’s a great group of guys that I’m looking forward to working with them. I’m looking forward to helping them win this division and make a big run in the playoffs. –Jonathan Quick on ESPN’s The Point

Not only was the trade from LA to Columbus to Las Vegas a shock to the 37-year-old netminder but to many across the league. Kings’ leaders Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar expressed a range of emotions to the media after their backstop and dear friend was replaced with Joonas Korpisalo.

The last two days affected us a lot. It was really sad and unexpected. It sucks seeing one of your best friends of your life leave. I expected to play with him for the rest of my career. It’s hockey, it’s business and sometimes things happen that you’re not going to like. -Drew Doughty, LAK defenseman

Captain Anze Kopitar echoed Doughty’s comments.

It’s a very hard day. It was unexpected and sad. I was thinking that Quickie was a King for life, and we’d be playing with him for the rest our careers, Bottom line is we have to deal with and look to the road ahead.  -Anze Kopitar, LAK center

Even former Kings player and TV analyst Jim Fox had a hard time describing the scene after the deal was announced to the team.

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The All VGK Killer Team

Thursday’s preseason game was so miserable to watch a fellow writer and I started trying to come up with all of the players that have given the Golden Knights fits over the first four seasons. This idea was born out of the fact that VGK were making Nick Schmaltz look like an offense driving machine for a few shifts in a row and we thought, he’d fit right in with some of the names that kill the Golden Knights.

Of course, Schmaltz’s run of dominance didn’t last long (if it even lasted at all, he just popped for a shift or two and that was enough to catch my attention during that dreadful game), but players just like him have had success against the Golden Knights in meaningful games.

This team is built of players that have actually had an impact on helping their team beat the Golden Knights. Unlike players like Evander Kane, Tom Wilson, and Antoine Roussel who are just annoying and usually hurt their team.

Without further ado, here’s the All VGK Killer Team from the first four years of the Golden Knights’ existence.

1st Line
Kyle Connor-Anze Kopitar-David Perron

This is a legit 1st line, centered by the man who has more points against the Golden Knights than anyone else, Anze Kopitar. His 21 points in 21 games are five better than any other player in the league and he’s added a couple more in the playoffs. Connor has also thrashed the Golden Knights on the scoresheet, posting eight goals and five assists for 13 points in just eight games. Like Kopitar, he’s also scored a goal and an assist on VGK in the playoffs. Then, there’s the one and only David Perron. It seems like it’s a life goal to ruin the night of every Vegas fan every time he’s at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights have shut him down from time to time, but this list wouldn’t be complete without him.

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Ranking The Top Centers In The Pacific Division

This week the NHL Network ranked the league’s twenty best centers. Lady Byng trophy winner William Karlsson came in at 17th place, not bad for a guy who wasn’t rated in the top 100 last season. Connor McDavid, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf and Leon Draisaitl were the other Pacific Division centers to make the NHL Network’s list.

So let’s have some fun and rank the top centers in the Pacific Division.

1. Connor McDavid: There’s not much to write. McDavid has 256 career points in 205 games, averaging 1.22 points per game. The Edmonton center has more points (208), goals created (77), assists per game (.84), and adjusted points (220) than any other player in the NHL since 2015-16. McDavid will continue to remain the top center in the division, and the league for many, many years.

2. Anze Kopitar: Again, this is another no-brainer. The Kings captain has averaged almost a point of game over his career, and put up his best (1.12) PPG average last season. After 12 NHL seasons, the Slovenian continues to get better. Kopitar ended the season with a career-high 92 points, and took home the Selke trophy. Also, he’s a faceoff wizard. Against Vegas in the postseason, Kopitar posted a 60.4% faceoff win percentage. Pretty impressive, considering the puck was in his zone most of the series.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

3. William Karlsson: I battled myself trying to be as objective as possible and at the end of the day, ranking Karlsson third behind McDavid and Kopitar was the only right decision. Most of the players on this list have consistently produced for multiple seasons. However, the overall skill Karlsson showcased leads you to believe he’ll repeat his production from 2017-18.

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Who Are The Kings Forwards?

How often do I get to use a Shipachyov picture? Wasn’t passing on this opportunity. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Los Angeles Kings are not built like the Vegas Golden Knights when it comes to forwards. Vegas has a top six that generate much of the offense for the team and they rely on the bottom six to keep the pace of the game high, create chances, and wear down opponents. The Golden Knights are at their best when all 12 forwards are active in the game, allowing them to come in waves at the opposing team.

The Kings are much different. Instead, the Kings have three elite players that carry a majority of the load, they have a little group of offensive-minded players that chip in by essentially complimenting the stars, and they fill the rest of their roster with role players. Some are defensive-oriented, others are there to win face-offs, then there are the grit and toughness guys, but all are mainly specialists.

So, I sat down with friend of the site and host of the official podcast of the LA Kings,  All The Kings Men, Jesse Cohen, to figure out, who exactly are these guys and what do they do best?

Anze Kopitar – Hart-trophy winning defensive forward who just flat out does everything well.

Jeff Carter – playmaker that is dangerous every second he’s in the game. He scores, he creates chances for others, he’s an elite skater, he wins face-offs, he’s simply an offensive weapon.

Dustin Brown – Having a tremendous offensive year and tends to be a player that imposes his will all over the ice while having the skill set to finish chances when they arise.

Adrian Kempe – Has a dangerous wrist shot from 30 feet out but seems to rely on it heavily. When his game is activated and he’s in on the forecheck he’s a disruptive and dangerous offensive weapon. When it’s not he has a tendency to disappear and rely on his skating and shooting. High ceiling, middle output.

Tobias Reider – Speed to burn with offensive upside that has still yet to fully develop. Can move the puck and his feet quickly.

Trevor Lewis – Defensive specialist having a career year offensively. Penalty killer that can play center or wing but it mostly deployed at wing.

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