LA Kings: Three takeaways in Monday’s 4-1 in over Anaheim

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

The LA Kings used a big first period and sealed a much-needed win over the Anaheim Ducks with two empty-net goals on Monday.

The LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks entered Monday’s matchup splitting the first four games of the 2021 season right down the middle. These two teams are about to play each other in a two and two series at STAPLES Center and Honda Center.

Before the game, the Kings called up top prospect Quinton Byfield. It’ll be interesting to see when he makes his debut, obviously cognizant of the 6-game ELC limitation.

Here’s how the Kings line rushes looked.

I failed to prepare myself to see Kurtis MacDermid listed on the wing. But, as it turned out, the Kings were featuring an 11F/7D look on the night.

Here were three takeaways from the contest.

1. Defensive scoring leads the way

Outside of Drew Doughty, the LA Kings have struggled to complement their offensive scoring – and I use that phrase loosely – with production from the blueline. The Kings veteran D man has 8 goals and 25 assists, tenth-most points among NHL defensemen. Outside of Doughty, Kurtis MacDermid and Matt Roy were tied for second with two goals apiece.

On Monday, Sean Walker opened the scoring in the game, his second goal of the season. Anze Kopitar also collected an assist on Walker’s goal, moving him within four points of achieving 1,000 career points. Later in the first period, Mikey Anderson cleaned up a puck off the end boards for a beautiful backhanded shot to beat Ducks netminder Anthony Stolarz.

2. Powerplay woes continue

Remember when the LA Kings were in the top ten in both penalty kill and the powerplay? That feels like quite a while ago, as Los Angeles has fallen to 16th in the league with a 20.0% PP conversion rate. The Kings had two opportunities on the man advantage, but they did little with either chance. In fact, the Ducks perhaps had one of the better looks in the final seconds of the second period when Ryan Getzlaf had a partial breakaway.

On the Kings’ second powerplay opportunity of the evening, they didn’t register a shot on net, as Kopitar’s shot went wide, hitting the side of the goal. Going back to last Friday, the Kings are a combined 0-for-7 in their last three games on the PP.

3. Quick wasn’t busy, but he made some big stops

Jonathan Quick has had a difficult year in 2021, with Cal Petersen starting to see more of the share in between the pipes. The 35-year-old Quick started on Monday, stopping 21-of-22 shots that came his way. He wasn’t overly busy all night, but he made some big saves when the Kings needed him.

As previously noted, the Getzlaf partial breakaway could have given the Ducks a big momentum swing heading into the intermission. Quick also came up big when JAD’s blind breakout pass found Deslauriers in the slot for a wide-open opportunity.

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These two teams will meet again on Wednesday.