7. Fans return to STAPLES Center
A limited number of fans were allowed back into STAPLES Center on April 20, after over a year of playing in front of an empty stadium. The Kings were feeling it against their rivals in the Anaheim Ducks, with Athanasiou and Lizotte each tallying three points. Los Angeles jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Cam Fowler responded with a late goal for Anaheim. Still, for the 1,431 people in the stands, it made a drastic difference for the play on the ice.
“These last three months when we haven’t had fans, it’s a different atmosphere and a different play style, and it’s just not as exciting, so I’m absolutely thrilled to have our fans back and providing energy for us,” Lizotte said via NHL.com. “Seriously, it makes a huge difference, and [I] absolutely love having them back, so that was great tonight.”
8. Quinton Byfield’s debut
It was the moment that LA Kings fans and Quinton Byfield had been waiting for since they heard his name called with the second-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old future number-one center made his debut. He was the sixth-youngest player to make his debut for the Kings.
I specifically remember watching Byfield hopping over the boards for his first NHL shift, and you could hear a roar from the Kings bench in support. It’s something that I will never forget, nor will Quinton.
The Newmarket, Ontario native looked comfortable in his first game. He had a couple of turnovers, which was to be expected, but the Kings trusted him enough to try to get the puck on his stick in the waning seconds of the third period with the Kings trailing 3-2. For the most part, Byfield looked good in his six games, and he’s expected to be a full-timer next season.
9. Kings score two goals in five minutes to beat Ducks
A lot of Kings-Ducks moments on this list. Closing out the month of April, there was no shortage of excitement between the two teams. The Ducks sporting their orange jerseys and the Kings in their Gretzky era heritage jerseys, Haydn Fleury opened the scoring for Anaheim just over five-and-a-half minutes into the first period.
It looked like the Kings were well on their way to being shutout, but Lias Andersson‘s goal with just under five minutes to play lit a fire in the Kings. Anze Kopitar scored with 56 seconds remaining in regulation on a beautiful play toward the net, in what looked eerily similar to his Game 7 winner against the Sharks in 2014.