While the LA Kings 2021 season didn’t go as most would have hoped, there were still some memorable moments. Here were ten of them.
That’s a wrap on the LA Kings season. Los Angeles finishes with a 21-28-7 record in the 56-game schedule. The results weren’t what everyone wanted, but it was still a fun season nonetheless. We got the opportunity to see some of the young talent that will soon become regular players in the lineup.
Source: Bally Sports West
Jeff Carter was traded, dropping the core five to the core four leftover from the Stanley Cup runs, and it will be interesting to see if that number reduces again over the offseason. It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. General manager Rob Blake has a lot of work to do this offseason.
The Kings have the cap space, and they have the assets to get some trades done to bring in better talent. It’s arguably the most important offseason in the last decade. Before we can move forward, let’s look back at the top ten best moments of the 2021 season, with an honorable mention at the end (in order by calendar date).
1. Kempe nets game-winner against Colorado
After dropping the first two games of the season against the Wild in heartbreaking fashion, the LA Kings also dropped Game 1 against the preseason Stanley Cup-favorite Colorado Avalanche. The Avs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period in the series finale. With Los Angeles staring at four losses to start the 2021 campaign, Drew Doughy and Gabe Vilardi evened the score in the middle frame.
Then, with just under four minutes left in regulation, Anze Kopitar fed a backhanded pass on the right side of the net to Adrian Kempe, who buried the puck. The Kings would also get an empty netter from Blake Lizotte. At the time, Kempe’s goal was critical because full-on panic may have ensued if the Kings lost that game.
2. Arthur Kaliyev’s debut and first goal
The 2019 second-round pick made his NHL debut on February 2. The game also marked the debut of the Kings Reverse Retro jerseys, which should have been a bullet point in itself. Those and the Gretzky Heritage jerseys were great to see mixed into the rotation this season.
Back to Arthur Kaliyev.
While the Kings didn’t win the game, Kaliyev’s first goal made it a 2-1 game in favor of Anaheim. Drew Doughty carried the puck through the neutral zone and into the Kings’ attacking zone, dishing the puck to the slot where Arthur Kaliyev crashed the net and buried Michael Amadio’s rebound off Ducks goalie John Gibson.
3. Quick posts shutouts in 2-of-3 starts
Jonathan Quick had an up and down season, but he put together a strong three-game stretch at the end of February. Part of the Kings’ six-game winning streak, Quick made it consecutive wins for Los Angeles with a 4-0 shutout over the Wild. In that contest, the 35-year-old future Hall of Famer stopped all 28 shots.
He made back-to-back starts, stopping 20 of 22 shots against the Coyotes on February 18, as the Kings extended their winning streak to three games with a 3-2 shootout victory.
Four days later, Quick stood on his head again as the Kings stretched their winning streak to five games. The Kings goalie stopped all 31 shots on the road with some fans in attendance at the Enterprise Center. Quick made a couple of big-time saves in that game, most notably Justin Faulk’s blast from the slot with about 45 seconds left in the first period.