Western Conference final team capsules: Los Angeles Kings

A rundown of the reigning Stanley Cup champs, who are trying to become the first team to repeat since 1998. Their 27-16-5 record made them the No. 5 seed in the playoffs.

27th appearance
1 Stanley Cup title (2012)

Studs

  • Jonathan Quick: 8-5, 1.50 GAA (leads NHL), .948 save% (leads NHL), 3 shutouts (leads NHL)
  • Dustin Brown: 57 hits (4th in NHL)
  • Jeff Carter: 5 goals (leads team)
  • Justin Williams: 2 goals in Game 7 win vs. SJS
  • Slava Voynov: 3 GWG (T-NHL lead), +7 (leads team)
  • Rob Scuderi: 31 blocked shots (3rd in NHL)
  • Team: 7-0 record at Staples Center (14 straight home wins, including regular season)
  • Team: 536 hits (most in NHL)

Duds:

  • Drew Doughty: 19 giveaways (most in NHL)
  • Robyn Regehr: 1 assist, -3 (worst on team)
  • Team: 1-5 record away from Staples Center
  • Team: 2.00 goals per game (11th in NHL)
  • Team: 8 goals in 6 away games

Stanley Cup winners with 2012 Kings (20 players, 3 coaches):

  • Jonathan Bernier, Dustin Brown (captain), Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Colin Fraser, Matt Greene, Dwight King, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jordan Nolan, Dustin Penner, Jonathan Quick (Conn Smythe winner), Mike Richards, Brad Richardson, Rob Scuderi, Jarret Stoll, Slava Voynov, Justin Williams, Darryl Sutter (head coach), John Stevens (asst), Bill Ranford (asst)

Cup winners with other franchises (4):

  • Colin Fraser (2010 Blackhawks), Dustin Penner (2007 Ducks), Rob Scuderi (2009 Penguins), Justin Williams (2006 Hurricanes)

Seeking first Cup, have played or coached one+ playoff game this postseason (5 players, 1 coach):

  • Keaton Ellerby, Jake Muzzin, Tanner Pearson, Robyn Regehr, Tyler Toffoli, Davis Payne (asst)

Seeking 2013 postseason debut:

  • Andy Andreoff, Jean-Francois Berube, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Andrew Campbell, Robert Czarnik, Nicolas Deslauriers, Martin Jones, Brandon Kozun, Brian O’Neill, Nick Shore, Anthony Stewart, Linden Vey, Jordan Weal (none played in the regular season)

Most career playoff …

  • Games: Mike Richards, 83
  • Goals: Jeff Carter, 21
  • Points: Mike Richards, 65

Last playoff …

  • Hat trick: Jeff Carter, May 15, 2012 (at Coyotes, Game 2, WCF)
  • 4-point game: Drew Doughty, April 16, 2011 (at Sharks, Game 2, WCQF)
  • Short-handed goal: Anze Kopitar, May 22, 2012 (at Coyotes, Game 5, WCF)
  • Fight: Jordan Nolan, May 6, 2012 (Chris Stewart, vs. Blues, Game 4, WCSF)
  • Shutout: Jonathan Quick, May 23, 2013 (vs. Sharks, Game 5, WCSF)

Playoff trend:

The Kings are trying to become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the 1997 & 1998 Detroit Red Wings … six different franchises have repeated in the Post-Expansion Era

  • Montreal Canadiens (1968 & 1969; 1976-79)
  • Philadelphia Flyers (1974 & 1975)
  • New York Islanders (1980-83)
  • Edmonton Oilers (1984 & 1985; 1987 & 1988)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 & 1992)
  • Detroit Red Wings (1997 & 1998)
  • In 2012, the Kings became the first 8-seed to win the title … they also matched the NHL record, with 10 road wins, during their run (1995 & 2000 Devils, 2004 Flames) … in the first two rounds of 2013, they were only 1-5 on the road

The Kings became only the 2nd reigning champion since 2003 to reach the conference finals the following season (2008 Red Wings)

Milestones:

  • In the WCSF, Jonathan Quick became the Kings’ all-time postseason leader in goaltending wins (28)
  • With one game-winning goal, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Dustin Penner & Slava Voynov (3 apiece) will tie Butch Goring for 3rd on the all-time GWG list in Kings postseason history
  • Former Blackhawks player Darryl Sutter moved into 12th in all-time coaching wins (71) … needs one win to tie Ken Hitchcock (72) for 11th
  • Justin Williams became the first player in NHL history to score a goal in his first four Game 7s
  • The Kings have allowed 3 or fewer goals in 33 consecutive playoff games, an NHL record

2012-13 season

  • Longest win streak: 5 (February 19 – 27)
  • Longest winless streak: 3 (January 19 – 24)

Biggest storylines of season & postseason:

  • The Kings were 10-1 on the road during their run to the Stanley Cup last season … they were 8-12-4 this season, including 3-7-3 vs. teams that made the playoffs … in the first two rounds of 2013, they were only 1-5 on the road
  • Drew Doughty did not score a goal until his 29th game this season … he scored five of his six in April

Award finalists:

  • Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (most influential team captain): Dustin Brown

Antti Niemi had to make a save with his bare hand

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Antti Niemi made 31 saves in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, and 30 of them were pretty standard.

The one that wasn’t came in the third period when he lost his glove during a scramble around the net and still managed to instinctively make a save on the puck. With his bare hand.

Niemi said after the game, via the Tribune Review, that he thought the referees would stop the play after his glove came off, and when they didn’t “I just kept playing.”

You can watch the play by clicking here.

Probably not the type of thing you want to see happening because that looks like a great way to break a bone (or the entire hand) and get sidelined for extended period of time. Niemi said the officials told him there will no longer be an automatic whistle for goalies losing a glove or a blocker, but that one will remain for when they lose their helmet.

The Penguins signed Niemi to a one-year contract this summer as a replacement for Marc-Andre Fleury after they lost him in the expansion draft to the Vegas Golden Knights. Niemi is looking to rebound from a tough year in Dallas. He will serve as Matt Murray‘s backup for the season.

‘A good start’ — Stamkos stands out in preseason debut

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and National Hockey League unveiled the 2018 All-Star Game logo Friday.

Far more importantly for the Bolts this evening was the return of their all-star center Steven Stamkos, as he made his preseason debut in what was his first game in 10 months.

His 2016-17 season was abruptly ended in the middle of November because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery, making it the second time in four years his regular season had been disrupted by a major injury.

It may still take a while before Stamkos feels truly comfortable coming back from this injury.But his performance on Friday proved to be a very promising start for No. 91, the Bolts and their fans in Tampa Bay.

He didn’t score, but he assisted on two first period goals, including a nice set-up to linemate Nikita Kucherov, and the Lightning beat the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-1. Stamkos also received a healthy dose of ice time, playing more than 19 minutes, including 5:32 on the power play.

His pass to Kucherov resulted in a power play goal.

“It was exciting to get out there, I was pretty anxious about it… It was a good start, something to build on,” said Stamkos afterward, per the Lightning. “It was nice to just go through a game day, I haven’t done it in a long time… I was glad with how the first one went.”

Golden Knights assign 2017 first-round picks Glass, Suzuki to junior

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The Vegas Golden Knights continue to make roster moves during their inaugural training camp.

On Friday, the expansion club assigned four players to junior. That includes 2017 first-round picks Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack.

The Golden Knights made franchise history by taking Glass with the sixth overall pick and then selected Suzuki at 13th overall. Both players appeared in two preseason games for Vegas, each recording two points in the exhibition opener versus the Vancouver Canucks.

“Nobody is going to rush (the rookies), that’s for sure,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Sun following the club’s 9-4 win over Vancouver on Sunday.

“We are in a position where we want to make sure they are ready to play. They are going to be good players when they’re healthy and strong enough to play in the league.”

Vegas has all three 2017 first-round picks — Glass, Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom — signed to three-year entry-level contracts.

Mitchell signed PTO with Blue Jackets — shortly after getting cut by Blackhawks

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When the Chicago Blackhawks announced their roster moves yesterday, John Mitchell was among the cuts.

His professional tryout with the Blackhawks had come to an end, as it did for veterans Mark Stuart and Drew Miller.

It can be an uphill battle to make an NHL roster for veterans on professional tryouts. But for Mitchell, he quickly received another opportunity to attend a camp and try to land a spot, signing a PTO with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mitchell, 32, has appeared in 548 NHL regular season games with 70 goals and 177 points.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are still without forward and restricted free agent Josh Anderson, as the two sides are stuck in a contract impasse right now. It was reported on Thursday that his representatives have been in contact with Hockey Canada about the 2018 Olympics.