Win or lose, the Kings are a better team with Drew Doughty and the blueliner’s actions on Monday and Wednesday serve as solid examples of that.
They may have a lot of work to do as far as making a serious playoff push goes but the LA Kings can at least breathe a bit easier after Wednesday night as they defeated the Arizona Coyotes by a 4-3 count.
The win halted a three-game losing skid for the silver-and-black but the club nonetheless showed great character and resilience, overcoming a 3-1 deficit by scoring three times in the third period to earn the two points. Of course, there was something that made this victory just a little more special for the LA Kings.
Immediately following Monday’s loss to the Coyotes, things came to a head for LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
The veteran defenseman used the opportunity to express his frustration, responding to his team’s struggles in recent outings.
“It should have been a call to action games ago,” Doughty said on Monday, referring to lighting a proverbial flame under his team. “We put ourselves in a good spot, and the last two weeks or so, we’ve absolutely shot ourselves in the foot. Now, we’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot of climbing to do, a lot of winning to do.”
Doughty went on to say that he’s “so pissed off” and while not by name, calling on teammates to step up their games both individually and collectively.
After 40 minutes on Wednesday night, the LA Kings were behind 3-1 but roared back in the third to win the game. In fact, the game-tying and game-winning goals were both set up by the 2016 Norris Trophy winner himself.
In addition to his two assists, Doughty garnered a plus-two rating, recorded two blocked shots, and logged a staggering 29:15 of total ice time. Most of all, the veteran blueliner, so to speak, walked the walk on Wednesday evening, and few were prouder than Todd McLellan.
“Well, that’s called leadership,” the LA Kings head coach noted. “You put yourself out there with your words and then you follow it up through actions. We’re fortunate to have him and a few others that have been through some of the big battles here and won eventually. You know, a lot of talk over the summer about where’s Drew’s game. Drew’s game is outstanding, and you really have to be around him to appreciate the minutes, the locker room, the energy he brings, the work he’s put in over the summer. You know, he’s as good a defenseman as there is in the National Hockey League right now, in my opinion.”
It may not be a stretch to suggest that some players do not need a ‘C’ on their chest to prove that they are natural leaders. Drew Doughty is a prime example of this. Most recently, it has been the on-ice and off-ice contributions of the two-time Stanley Cup champion that not only makes him a bona fide leader but helps his team be at their best. In fact, it is very difficult to imagine where the LA Kings would be if it weren’t for the presence, and the services, of Drew Doughty — and this writer means that with all due respect to the other leaders on the team.
In 37 games this season, Doughty has eight goals and 20 assists while logging an average of 26:49 of ice time per game. Now, moving forward, No. 8 will hope to help the LA Kings form a new winning streak on Friday night when they travel to San Jose to take on the resurgent Sharks.