Kings Roll up Wins Facing Long Trip
After a troublesome offseason and an 0-3 start to the season, the Los Angeles Kings are showing the stuff to make them contenders in the West. A road-heavy schedule for the rest of the month should surely test their mettle.
Last week the Kings took full advantage of a home stand, going 4-0-0 over eight days. Winning five of the last six, they now hold a comfortable lead in the lowly Pacific Division, with five other teams in the division traipsing along at around .500. The Kings will need all of the wins they can get, because the rest of 2015 is pretty much away from home. Starting with Tuesday’s game at Columbus, LA faces 10 games on the road and one at home to complete December.
Defense Doing The Job
The Kings are needing only three or four goals to win games these days, getting most of their wins on the legs of their defensemen. Not that their defensemen don’t score. Drew Doughty, Christian Ehrhoff and Jake Muzzin each contributed a goal to the Kings' 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Jonathan Quick has been sterling in goal, with a 1.46 goals against average over six games, and just over 2 GAA for the season.
On the offensive side, Jeff Carter is on a six-game point streak, and Marian Gaborik scored five points in the six-game streak, after having only four points in the first 20 games. Anze Kopitar had three goals and six assists over eight games, and now has 400 career assists. "He's probably going to get 400 more," coach Darryl Sutter said. "Remember I said that too, because it'll happen."
Overcoming Bad Times
The Kings came into the season suffering the psychological and public-relations wounds from off-ice personnel problems. In April Jarrett Stoll was arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession and left the team. Mike Richards was charged with possession of a controlled substance in June, and his contract was terminated. Slava Voynov spent nearly two months in a detention center after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in July.
But after hiring a player assistance director to help correct such problems, the Kings seem to have mended their ways and concentrate on winning games. If they continue on course they should be playoff bound. The next few weeks should tell the story.
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