The LA Kings will wrap up their four-game road trip against the Washington Capitals on Sunday. If they can somehow force overtime and get at least four of a possible eight points on this trip, that’s a big win, considering how daunting this stretch initially looked.

Tale of the Tape

Powerplay:

LAK: 18.1% (19th)

WSH: 16.7% (25th)

Penalty Kill:

LAK: 75.6% (27th)

WSH: 80.0% (14th)

Faceoffs:

LAK: 53.3% (6th)

WSH: 46.0% (30th)

Goals per game:

LAK: 2.62 (26th)

WSH: 3.47 (5th)

Goals against per game:

LAK: 2.62 (9th)

WSH: 2.57 (6th)

Top scorers:

LAK: Anze Kopitar – 9 goals, 17 assists, 26 points

WSH: Alex Ovechkin – 22 goals, 25 assists, 47 points

  • After being the highest-graded player in Thursday’s win, Olli Maatta was graded as the worst player on the ice in the LA Kings’ 5-1 loss on Saturday with a -4.46 game score per Hockey Stat Cards:

  • With the skyrocketing number of players going into COVID protocol over the last several days, the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators were the latest teams shut down through December 26. Earlier this week, the Avalanche, Flames, and Panthers were shut down through the holiday break.
  • Winnipeg Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck spoke freely about the current NHL protocols, believing they are “doing more harm than good.”

  • Evgeni Malkin reportedly “looks pretty good” after taking limited contact in practice for the first time since having knee surgery back in June. Pittsburgh is currently riding a six-game win streak and will look to extend that streak against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
  • Many of you have seen me voice my frustration with the drop pass on the powerplay. I understand the point of it. Players like Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon can make it an effective zone entry, but the eye test continues to show that Adrian Kempe on the first PP unit and, when healthy, Andreas Athanasiou on the second PP unit, have the play blown up at at the blue line. On this play below, Blake Lizotte received the drop pass but was unable to cross the blue line, before the Hurricanes took it the other way for a shorthanded scoring chance.

  • Again, it can be effective when you have the right personnel to do it, but it’s just not working for the LA Kings. Let’s see a more traditional zone entry or dump and chase and go win a puck battle to cycle it back up top for a shot attempt.
  • Against the Oilers, the Kings utilized more of a traditional zone entry to create odd-man rushes, leading to three powerplay goals, including this perfect execution from Kopitar to Arvidsson back to Kopitar and to Doughty:
  • LA Kings 2021 eighth overall pick Brandt Clarke now has 25 points in 21 games. I bet Team Canada would like to have a player like this on their World Juniors roster.

Three things that stood out in LA Kings’ 5-1 loss vs Carolina Hurricanes

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