LA Kings: Alex Turcotte and Arthur Kaliyev shine in exhibition against Finland

LA Kings Training Camp (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
LA Kings Training Camp (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

In Team USA’s exhibition game against Finland, LA Kings prospects Alex Turcotte and Arthur Kaliyev shined in the win.

After Sunday’s exhibition contest was canceled due to several positive COVID-19 tests within the WJC bubble, LA Kings‘ fans finally got a glimpse of four prospects. Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kaliyev, and Brock Faber all suited up for Team USA with the two forwards on the top line. Faber was on USA’s third pairing with Minnesota defensive partner Ryan Johnson. And on the flip side, 2020 third-round pick Kasper Simontaival was on the top line for Team Finland.

For Kaliyev, Tuesday’s exhibition game was his first live-game action in over ten months. Faber and Simontaival have been active in their respective leagues, and Turcotte trained with Eisbaren Berlin earlier in the fall. From a fan’s perspective, Tuesday night was borderline therapeutic having an emotional interest in a hockey game again, with all eyes focused on the Kings’ prospects.

1st Period 1-1

Shots on Goal

USA 16

Finland 4

Perhaps a little overzealous, Arthur Kaliyev was called for a back-check, serving a two-minute minor with a ten-minute game misconduct less than a minute into the contest. Finland scored not long into the power play as Team USA continued to find their footing.

"“Some guys were a little tight in the first 10 minutes but that’s what these pre-tournaments games are for,” said USA head coach Nate Leaman. “We found some things that we’re good at and they showed us some of our weaknesses… Important game to help us prepare for the next step at WJC.”"

They caught their first break when Alex Turcotte drew a high-sticking penalty, leading to USA’s first power play opportunity of the evening. While they came up empty, Kaliyev’s passing abilities were on full display, and he hit the post on a shot attempt as well.

Turcotte had an outstanding shot on goal with approximately 3:30 left in the first period. Team USA caught another big break, drawing back-to-back penalties, leading to a 5-on-3 man advantage. As time wound down in the first period, Minnesota Wild prospect Matthew Boldy sent a beauty of a pass to Arthur Kaliyev, who fired an off-balance shot from the slot into the back of the net.

2nd period 3-2

Shots on Goal

USA 13

Finland 6

It was the Cole Caufield show in the early goings of the second period, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison standout sophomore extended Team USA’s lead to 3-1 with two goals separated by just 35 seconds.

Neither Turcotte nor Kaliyev made the box score in the second period, but the former had several standout plays. The Kings’ fifth overall pick in 2019 plays with great poise, carrying the puck confidently through the neutral zone with terrific vision. Kaliyev continued to display his underrated passing abilities while Team Finland played a bit more aggressive than the first period.

And as Russell noted here, Turcotte was seen playing a full 200-foot game, in an exhibition game no-less.

Faber and Simontaival were relatively quiet throughout the game, although the former broke up an excellent two on none chance for Finland, showing the quick wheels to get back.

3rd period 3-2 (final)

Shots on Goal

USA 16

Finland 6

Turcotte opened the third period, accepting a great pass from Trevor Zegras in transition through the neutral zone. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get anything on it and came away empty. Speaking of Zegras, he is going to be a darn good hockey player in the NHL. His passing and vision are off the charts, along with a decisive shot.

Turcotte took a pretty good shot near the 14:00 mark in the third period.

It was mostly a quiet period for both sides the rest of the way. Turcotte had a great scoring opportunity with about three minutes left in the game, taking advantage of a turnover in the Finland zone. He had a breakaway but drew iron.

Team USA will jump into the tournament play on Christmas Day against Russia while Finland will do the same against Germany. Both games will be televised on TSN (Canada) and NHL Network (US).