LA Kings

Takeaways from an impressive LA Kings 6-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights for the LA Kings to open the 2021-22 season.

Well, that was fun! The LA Kings opened their 2021-2022 NHL campaign with a resounding defeat over the Vegas Golden Knights by a final score of 6-2.

The Kings could not have asked for a better start to the season. And head coach Todd McLellan echoed that same sentiment. When asked during the postgame presser if he could have scripted a better outcome, he responded, “Probably not.”

The excitement level from fans is at its highest level in quite some time after that impressive showing from LA. And even though this is only game one of a long 82 game season, Kings fans deserve the opportunity to ride this high until Saturday night.

1. Anze and Drew make a statement

Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty have been waiting patiently for some additional skill to join them in the lineup. With Rob Blake adhering to that request with multiple acquisitions over the off-season, it would be on them now to perform. And last night, they did just that.

For the past few seasons, Anze Kopitar has been responsible for matching up against the LA Kings opponent’s top players. With Phillip Danault in the lineup, there’s a bit of weight lifted from Anze’s shoulders. And now he can be more aggressive offensively.

Anze is always known to be the setup man. But tonight, he was on the receiving end of some pretty passes, leading to his fifth career hat-trick. He couldn’t help himself from continuing that hall-of-fame playmaking ability, though, and added two assists to finish with his second career five-point game.

Drew Doughty, who has been more vocal than Anze on bringing in new players, also had a career night. With one goal and three assists, Doughty finished with his second career four-point game. The impressive start even caught him a bit off guard.

“Good start to the season. Honestly. I didn’t expect it to be that dominant or anything, but we played one of the best teams in our division, and I thought everyone in our lineup played great tonight. So, when you can have that, you’re going to be successful.”

2. Special Teams

The Kings had two power play opportunities and converted on both. At the same time, they killed the lone penalty against them.

This is why I was so excited for Vladimir Tkachev. This is what makes him so unique. If you give him enough time and space, he makes things happen. And we saw those skills of his during both power play goals for the LA Kings.

Tkachev ended the day with two points on the night in his first career NHL game. Adding him to a power play unit that already included players like Kopitar and Doughty, you now have quite the formidable top unit.

3. Defensive aggressiveness

It was pretty noticeable right at the start of the game. The LA Kings defensemen were granted the green light to be more active in the offensive zone, whether pinching more to keep pucks in the zone or navigate through the neutral zone with a more aggressive mindset. Hell, we even got a Tobias Bjornfot partial breakaway. It’s a welcome sight for a team that lacked much offensive input from that unit the last few seasons.

One of LA’s best skaters on the back end, Sean Walker seems to be enjoying this new strategy. And was all over the place throughout the game. Now that he has the steady veteran presence of Alex Edler on his side, he has the chance to use his skating ability a lot more.

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