Anze Kopitar

Finally clicking Gaborik, Kopitar add to Coyotes’ woes


Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik played a key role in the Los Angeles Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup championship, but between Gaborik’s health problems and Kopitar’s on-ice struggles, they weren’t major contributors early this season. That’s changed though as the duo led Los Angeles to a 4-2 victory over Arizona this afternoon.

The Coyotes had a 2-1 lead late in the second period when Marian Gaborik netted the game-tying marker to extend his goal-scoring streak to four games. He added an assist in the third frame to give him eight points in his last four contests.

Kopitar had three assists against the Coyotes, including the primary one on Gaborik’s power-play goal. He also led the Kings to victory over St. Louis on Thursday with a goal and four assists.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes have lost nine of their last 11 games. Over that span, the only team they’ve managed to beat are the lowly Edmonton Oilers. At 11-17-1, Arizona is 12 points behind the Vancouver Canucks, who hold the second Wild Card spot. The Coyotes’ situation might be even worse by the end of the night as the Canucks still have to play against the Calgary Flames.

Video: Dreger talks Vegas, 2015-16 salary cap, MacLean

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There have been a lot of major events in the NHL that have captured headlines in recent days from the prospect of the league expanding to Las Vegas, to speculation on the 2015-16 salary cap, and finally the firing of Ottawa Senators bench boss Paul MacLean.

Before the start of tonight’s NBCSN game between the Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings, Darren Dreger went on the air to provide the latest on each of those stories and put them into context. You can watch that below:

Tonight’s preview show also featured a segment on Anze Kopitar’s struggles this season and how Marian Gaborik’s return might help him:

Slumping Kopitar might get Gaborik back soon


The Los Angeles Kings have left something to be desired with their mediocre 14-8-5 record and part of their shortcomings can be tied to Anze Kopitar.

He’s one of their biggest offensive weapons, but he has just five goals and 12 points in 24 games this season. He’s also been limited to two assists over his last eight contests.

Kopitar might get a boost on Tuesday though if Marian Gaborik (upper body) returns after a four-game absence. The two skated together on the top line Sunday and Gaborik was able to fully participate in the practice, per LA Kings Insider.

The duo had chemistry during the Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup-winning playoff run, but they weren’t able to carry that forward early this season because Gaborik was sidelined for most of October. He got off to a slow start when he returned, but Gaborik had four goals and seven points in his last nine games before he was injured again.

Justin Williams rounded out the Kings’ first line during Sunday’s practice. Kings coach Darryl Sutter also reunited That 70s Line, which consists of Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, and Tanner Pearson.

Sutter talked about the possibility of calling up 23-year-old forward Andy Andreoff as a fallback option if Gaborik isn’t ready.

Stoll’s OT winner leads Kings past Ducks

Jarret Stoll scored for the first time this season tipping a Justin Williams feed past Frederik Andersen giving the L.A. Kings a 3-2 win Saturday.

It was Stoll’s first goal since April 9.

“I needed that one,” Stoll told the L.A. Times. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to help out and contribute and try to make sure other parts of my game were there. It always feels nice to score a goal and especially to get two points out of it.”

Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar scored in regulation. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves to improve to 8-3-4 on the season.

Defenseman Drew Doughty played a career-high 32:31 in the win.

Emerson Etem and Ryan Kesler scored for the Ducks. Kesler has three goals and an assist in his first two games in the battle between the two Southern California Clubs.

Andersen made 34 saves while seeing his record drop to 7-1-3 on the season.

Anaheim won the first game on Wednesday night 6-5 thanks to Kesler’s shootout winner.

“One’s a shootout game, one’s an overtime game, so it tells you how close they are,” Darryl Sutter said of the first two games between the clubs.

The third game of the season between Anaheim and L.A. goes Jan. 17.

Kesler leads Ducks to comeback victory over the Kings


Anaheim center Ryan Kesler played in his first battle of Southern California on Wednesday night and left his mark scoring twice, including the shootout-winner, and assisting on another helping the Ducks to a 6-5 come from behind victory over the L.A. Kings at the Honda Center.

The Ducks trailed 3-1 and 5-3, but battled back to snap a three game losing skid. The loss meanwhile drops the Kings to 1-3-3 on the road this season.

“It was a good game from us. Definitely a wild one,” said Kesler. “We could have given up, but the team stayed positive.”

Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty gave L.A. a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. After Ducks’ defenseman Cam Fowler got Anaheim on the board in the second, Trevor Lewis netted his second of the season forcing Bruce Boudreau to make a goaltending change – Frederik Andersen’s night was done after he allowed three goals on nine shots.

“It was very little, quite honest,” said Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter of the intensity Wednesday night. “It was just kind of a pond hockey game. It looked like one of our preseason games.”

Jakob Silfverberg and Kesler’s first of the night tied the game 3-3 just over two minutes into the third.

However, Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams restored L.A.’s two-goal lead midway through the final period.

Anaheim would not give up, captain Ryan Getzlaf and Kesler each picked up their fifth goals of the season to force overtime.

“I don’t think we let it ‘get away.’ We never really had the lead,” Sutter continued. “I know you define it by goals having a lead, but we really never had the lead. If it wasn’t for Jonathan (Quick), it wasn’t even close. They’re a much better team that we are.”

Kesler scored in the second round of the shootout for the winner. Jason LaBarbera made 13 saves in relief to improve to 2-0-1 on the season.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Getzlaf. “We had our ups and downs, but I felt like we played a great game tonight.

Quick made 37 saves in the loss.

“I don’t think we had much energy, much focus, much execution,” said Sutter. “We used a short bench. Too bad actually we lost the shootout, because then Jonathan feels tough, right? He stood on his head to get us a point.”

The Kings don’t have to wait long for another shot at the Ducks – the rematch goes Saturday night at the Staples Center.