With the LA Kings’ seven-game winning streak coming to an end on Saturday, we look back on the five best moments.
Like all good things, the LA Kings seven-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday just 32 seconds into overtime against the Winnipeg Jets. That said, the team’s eight-game point streak is alive and well.
Todd McLellan’s group will look to continue their recent success on a seven-game homestand, one that features the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes in their first two matchups.
Before putting a bow on the winning streak, we will look back at the five best moments over that stretch. First, the tale of the tape from the seven wins.
- 6-for-30 (20%)
- 15-for-17 (88.2%)
Goals Per Game
- 3.43 GF/GP
Goals Against Per Game
- 1.57 GA/GP
- Alex Iafallo – 5 goals, 4 assists, 9 points
- Adrian Kempe – 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points
- Anze Kopitar – 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points
- Phillip Danault – 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points
From the information above, the major takeaway is the win percentage in the faceoff dot. On average, the Kings won just under 58 percent of all draws and had four games where they won exactly 59 percent of their faceoffs. Obviously, starting with the puck is much better than chasing it all game, and therefore, Los Angeles could play their style of offense.
A big reason for the largely improved success in the faceoff dot has been Phillip Danault, which is exactly what the Kings brought him in to do.
Danault has won 57.7 percent of his faceoffs through the first 15 games as a member of the Los Angeles Kings – oddly enough, the same percentage of wins during the winning streak. And while he hasn’t been lighting it up offensively this season, Blake Lizotte‘s hustle and strong play in the faceoff circle has not gone unnoticed.
The 23-year-old undrafted free agent has been the very definition of consistent, winning draws at a 50.5 percent clip this year, in line with his career average of 50.4 percent.
Let’s get to the best moments of the winning streak.
(In chronological order)
1. Kings score five straight goals against Habs
The winning streak had to start somewhere, and with Danault’s old team in town, the LA Kings did not disappoint. After the Canadiens’ Josh Anderson scored with under two minutes left in the first period, the Kings came roaring out in the second period, with Viktor Arvidsson and Arthur Kaliyev getting the team on the board and giving them the lead, respectively. Rasmus Kupari and Alex Iafallo added three more in the second period, with two coming from the latter.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) October 30, 2021
Of note, the Kings went 3-for-5 on the man advantage, with Kupari getting his first taste of powerplay time.
“Yeah, it was an honor from the coaching staff, to get that role, on the second power-play unit,” the Finnish forward said. “I was familiar with it, I played that role last year with the Reign for most of the year, so I pretty much knew what to do. Obviously, it’s a little bit of a different game here, but the roles are the same. It worked today and just keep it going and work on it a bit.”
2. Bjornfot’s game-winning assist against Buffalo
Following their 5-2 win over the Habs on Saturday, the Kings hosted the Buffalo Sabres for a Sunday matinee game. Buffalo has been far from the pushover that most expected them to be this year, most recently topping the Edmonton Oilers. Against the Kings, the Sabres jumped out to a 2-0 lead, netting goals approximately four and a half minutes apart in the second period.
Following the Sabres’ second goal, Carl Grundstrom responded exactly one minute later, getting the Kings on the board. After Anze Kopitar tied the game early in the third period, Tobias Bjornfot had one of the nicest assists you’ll ever see from a young defenseman.
— Buffalo Hockey moments (@SabresPlays) October 31, 2021
Just to have the wherewithal to center that pass and a sense that a Kings player would be there is pretty impressive from a 20-year-old.
Bjornfot has looked like a more confident version of himself this year, often jumping into the rush while continuing to play strong defensively. Todd McLellan noted that the coaching staff asked him to play more aggressively, especially with Drew Doughty and Sean Walker out of the lineup.
“We talked about Toby’s game getting better, night after night, and him using his legs,” McLellan said. “Early in the year, he played in between, he was just about there but not all the way there. Tonight, even last night, a few games ago, Trent Yawney talked to him and said, get aggressive, get going, and we saw that from him. Great legs, both offensively and defensively, good for him.”
He’s answered the bell thus far.
3. Domination in Toronto
The Maple Leafs presented a tremendous challenge for the LA Kings. With a lineup featuring names like Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares, the Leafs were arguably the best opponent the Kings would see on their four-game road trip north of the border. But the Kings came out with a purpose, with Trevor Moore and Andreas Athanasiou tallying first-period goals.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 9, 2021
Tavares got the Leafs on the board early in the second period, which could have set the stage for a Kings collapse. Instead, McLellan’s group proceeded to rip off three more goals, including the empty-netter from Adrian Kempe, to officially leave the team’s mark on Scotiabank Arena. The way Los Angeles responded to the Tavares goal demonstrated real growth for this team, whereas last year’s group may have squandered that game away.
“The win, it’s a tough place to come and play,” McLellan said of what he liked best about the game. “We’re playing against a very good hockey club. The start allowed us to weather the storm later, it got us the lead. We talked about it in between the second and third, we bent but we didn’t break at the end of the second, and we tried to re-establish our game in the third. Big penalty kill, we needed that in the third, I thought we shut them down after that.”
4. Kempe calls game in Montreal
The Kings had little time to celebrate the big win over the Leafs as they put their five-game winning streak on the line in their rematch with Montreal, this time at the Bell Centre. Just like the first meeting, the Habs scored first, with Ben Chiarot plugging away in front of Cal Petersen, finally putting in what felt like the tenth rebound in that sequence. But as they had done during their winning streak, the Kings responded not long into the second period, with Brendan Lemieux tallying his first goal of the season. From there, Iafallo scored the fastest goal in franchise history during the regular season, needing just six seconds into the final frame to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.
After Montreal tied it late, Adrian Kempe made the Habs look silly in the overtime period, skating around the net before carrying the puck in himself and beating Jake Allen for the overtime winner.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) November 10, 2021
“It was a fun game, a lot of back and forth, a lot of credit to them once they went down 2-1 in the third there, they really came at us, gave us everything they had, so I thought it was an extremely good game by both sides. We’re learning to win games when things are going our way and when things aren’t going our way. It’s good to get that confidence,” Petersen said after the game.
5. Quick’s 55th career shutout against Ottawa
Is that 25-year-old Jonathan Quick out there? He’s surely playing like a younger version of himself. Whether he feels like he’s not ready to pass off the number one goaltender status to Petersen or if the team in front of him is playing better than previous seasons – probably a combination of both – Quick has found IT this year.
He stopped all 34 shots sent his way against the Ottawa Senators, making a couple of big-time saves in the first period while the Kings tried to get something going offensively against an undermanned Senators team.
I posted this not long after the game but sharing it again because the context is eye-popping.
Where does Jonathan Quick's .935 SV% through 8 starts rank in his career?
– 11-12: .955
– 14-15: .950
– 17-18: .944
– 10-11: .936
– 08-09: .936
– 21-22: .935
– 15-16: .928
– 16-17: .928
– 13-14: .913
– 09-10: .900
– 12-13: .897
– 2021: .889
– 18-19: .884
– 19-20: .858@LAKings
— Ryan Sikes (@ryan_sikes10) November 12, 2021
“There’s four players left from the championship years and it’s interesting to see how it works. I really believe that the younger players want to play for those older players and Quickie is one of them. They really want to compete for him and he’s been outstanding,” McLellan said of Quick’s performance and influence on the team. “He hasn’t wavered at all, he doesn’t want to give up his place in the lineup, and we don’t expect him to. It’s forced Cal to play well. Anytime we can get that from within our team, in an 82-game season, we don’t know what we’re going to finish with, but we certainly need both of them.”
As noted, the Kings will have a couple of early tests in their seven-game homestand, with Washington and Carolina up first. Here’s to starting a new win streak!