Drew Doughty continues to exude leadership, instilling the belief that the LA Kings are a good, competitive hockey team.
While their efforts ultimately resulted in a notch in the loss column, the LA Kings nonetheless had a fairly strong game on Wednesday night despite the defeat. This included recording a season-high 42 shots on goal. Arizona Coyotes netminder Antti Raanta, however, was up to the task, stopping 40 shots to improve to 6-0-1 lifetime against the LA Kings.
On the other end, an uncharacteristic showing on the penalty kill where they gave up two goals and another tally — the ultimate game-winner — that resulted from an unfortunate defensive turnover cost the Kings on this night as the Coyotes came away with two crucial points. The LA Kings had solid efforts in the first and third periods, which led them to controlling both stanzas. The second period, however, was a different story as the silver-and-black surrendered all three of their goals in the middle frame.
For Drew Doughty, especially, the positives taken from this loss weren’t quite enough.
Following his team’s loss to the Coyotes on Wednesday, Doughty spoke with the media about his team’s efforts and how crucial that middle frame was.
“We didn’t like a lot of things about our second period,” the defenseman admitted. “I mean, the two PK goals are both preventable. The one is my fault. I’ve got to block that shot. But, I just thought we were sloppy in the second. We weren’t connecting on passes. We’d have opportunities for 4-on-2 and 3-on-2 rushes, and we’d throw it in the feet, or the puck would bounce, and then we lost our opportunity. So, we lost the game in the second. I don’t think it was about the first and third not scoring. Obviously, if we scored another one, we would have tied it up, but I think it was about the second.”
There have been multiple times this season when LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan has stressed his desire to roll four lines and three defensive pairs. Doughty touched on this, elaborating how Wednesday’s second period may not have been the best display of this.
“Yeah, I guess so,” the 31-year-old said. “I mean, every coach says they want to do that, but I mean when it comes down to it, they’re going to put their top guys out there in the clutch moments. But, we want to roll four lines. We’re rolling four lines and three pairs.
“We’re a good team, very good team. We’re hard to play against. We have lots of energy. So, I can’t even remember– there was a bunch of power plays in the second, wasn’t there? So, yeah, that was an issue, I guess. Some guys had to sit out and not get a shift for a long time, so we couldn’t keep rolling.”
One of those power plays in the second period was in the LA Kings’ favor. Specifically, it was Drew Doughty who tied the game on a blast from just inside the blueline to get the silver-and-black on the board. The goal was Doughty’s fourth on the power play this season and fifth overall.
The latter category puts him in a tie for second-overall among NHL defensemen while his four power play tallies lead all league blueliners. Additionally, Doughty’s goal, his 63rd career power play tally, is good enough for second among NHL defensemen who made their debut in 2008-09. Only Montreal’s Shea Weber has more than Doughty with 91.
Win or lose, Drew Doughty continually proves just how integral of a leader he is to this young and exciting LA Kings team. The first to admit his faults when his team loses and the first to pass credit onto his teammates when they win, Doughty is the type of leader the LA Kings need right now. Whether they make the playoffs or not — and you can be sure that Doughty and company want to — the LA Kings are in the best hands with their great No. 8.
That may sound more like a cliche as the season goes on but let’s not forget that cliches are just that because of how accurate they are. The LA Kings will hope to get back into the win column on Friday when they kick off their first of a two-game set against the St. Louis Blues at STAPLES Center.
Be sure to check out our latest podcast episode with DobberProspects’ Tony Ferrari talking about several of the top LA Kings’ prospects.