With the regular season officially underway after a split two games in Europe, the Kings have plenty to feel good about. Friday’s 3-2 overtime victory against the Rangers in Stockholm demonstrated the team’s effectiveness up front with some of the offseason additions. While fatigue may have been a factor in Saturday’s tough 4-2 loss to the Sabres in Berlin, the Kings have many positives to take away from the trip as a whole. Anze Kopitar seems to have fully returned to form since his leg injury at the end of last season, as he left Europe with a team leading four points in two games. In addition, Mike Richards put up two crucial points with a game-tying goal late in the third period against the Rangers, and a beautiful assist to Jack Johnson’s overtime winner. The contributions that Richards has made thus far are exactly what the Kings will continue to need from him down the road.
Defense continues to look strong. Alec Martinez made an impression creating many offensive opportunities while also remaining composed and controlled in his own zone. Jack Johnson had the game winner on Friday and it’s only a matter of time before Drew Doughty starts racking up points. It looks like Slava Voynov will be staying put in Manchester for now.
There is still some room for improvement on the power play, but they managed to create some scoring opportunities and capitalized on two out of eight on the man advantage. It is still early, but the first unit is comprised of some of the league’s best in Kopitar, Richards, Johnson, and Doughty, and the potential there is virtually unmatched.
As the Kings head back to North America, they can relax a bit and settle back into the typical rhythm of things. We should be seeing the team at it’s strongest once they get a few more games under their belt and Dustin Penner back in the lineup. Overall, a pleasant start to the season. Go Kings!