Tag: Anze Kopitar

Marian Gaborik, Drew Doughty

Kings defeat Habs in shootout to tighten up West playoff race


With less than a minute remaining in regulation, his team needing a win and down a goal, Marian Gaborik came through. And he did so again in the shootout, too.

Gaborik scored early in the period, and then the tying goal with 45 seconds remaining in the third period to send Thursday’s game between his L.A. Kings and the visiting Montreal Canadiens to overtime. In the shootout, Gaborik scored L.A.’s first goal and the Kings eventually prevailed over the Habs, with Dustin Tokarski in net, by a final score of 4-3.

After getting dominated through the opening 20 minutes — the Kings held a 13-2 advantage in shots on goal — the Habs got back into the game and took the lead in the third period.

That was before Gaborik’s heroics. Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar also scored in the shootout.

And that has only tightened up the playoff race in the Western Conference.

The Kings came back to win in a shootout.

The Minnesota Wild won in regulation.

The Calgary Flames won in a shootout.

The Vancouver Canucks lost in the shootout.

These are results that could eventually determine the post-season picture.

With a single point, the Canucks stayed second in the Pacific Division. But both the Flames and Kings are right on their heels, each sitting with 74 points, two back of Vancouver.

Each of those three teams have now played 64 games. Eventually, something has to give.

NHL on NBCSN: Kings and Sharks battle at Levi’s Stadium

2015 Coors Light Stadium Series - Practice Day

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign as the San Jose Sharks host the L.A. Kings at Levi’s Stadium at 10:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The lone Stadium Series game this season sees the L.A. Kings battle the San Jose Sharks tonight at Levi’s Stadium.

It’s the fourth of five meetings between the two clubs.

The Kings will look to stretch their win streak to a season-best seven games while the Sharks try to avoid a third loss in four outings.

The Sharks currently own the second wild card position in the Western Conference with 68 points, but the Kings are two points behind and have three games in hand.

San Jose has won two of the first three games.

Patrick Marleau has two goals and two assists during the season series while goaltender Antti Niemi is 2-1 with a .945 save percentage and 1.69 G.A.A. in three games against the Kings this season.

Anze Kopitar also has a goal and three assists in three games against the Sharks this season. Goaltender Jonathan Quick is 1-2 with a .890 save percentage and and 3.06 G.A.A. against San Jose this season.

L.A. has 16 players who have played in an outdoor game previously including 15 who were a part of last season’s Stadium Series game between the Kings and Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium.

The fifth and final meeting between the two clubs goes April 11 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Whatever the Kings decide with Richards, they’re ‘going to have to play better’

Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Quick

Darryl Sutter still thinks Mike Richards can be a good NHL player, and he’s frustrated by the media coverage of the Kings’ decision to place the 29-year-old center on waivers.

“This is hockey, and some of you guys don’t get it, period,” the coach told reporters today, per LA Kings Insider. “Lots of players go on waivers and lots of players clear waivers, and lots of players still have great years in front of them.

“It’s just that there are people in the media who continue to want to beat people up because they can’t do it themselves. It’s frustrating. I think Mike’s still got lots of hockey left.”

Whatever the team decides to do with Richards, both in the short- and long-term, the Kings, to most everyone’s surprise, find themselves outside the playoff picture heading into Wednesday’s home game versus Chicago, after which they’ll head out on a tough, five-game road trip with stops in Boston, Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Columbus.

All-Star forward Anze Kopitar was asked this weekend to pinpoint why the defending champions had such a modest record (20-15-12) after 47 games.

“I don’t think you can pinpoint,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of hockey the last few years. Maybe there was a little bit of a fatigue factor. But we’re all professionals. We’ve got to get ready for each and every game.”

The statistic that really stands out about this season’s Kings is their goals-against average. At 2.53, it’s only the 13th-lowest in the NHL. Last season, it finished at 2.05, better than everyone.

Blame the goaltenders. Blame the players in front of the goalies for not being in a “checking mood” often enough. Blame the absence of Slava Voynov, or the departure of Willie Mitchell. Blame the shootout. Blame fatigue. The fact is, no defending champion since the 2006-07 Carolina Hurricanes has missed the playoffs, and the Kings would like to keep it that way.

“I think we’re one point out of a playoff spot,” said Kopitar. “That’s encouraging. And we realize we’re going to have to play better the second half of the year. We have a pretty long road trip coming up, and this is a good time to get going and turn things around.”

Related: Mike Richards clears waivers