Drew Doughty may be more commonly celebrated for his offensive production and booming shot from the point, but the young Los Angeles Kings defenseman also has the ability to deliver thundering body checks, a trait that was on display last Saturday night when the Edmonton Oilers visited STAPLES Center.
Early in the second period of a 2-2 game, the Oilers were on a rush up the ice when Dustin Penner sent a pass over to Taylor Hall, the No. 1 pick in last summer's Entry Draft. Hall likely intended to carry the puck into the Kings' zone and make a drive toward the net, but before he could cross the blue line Doughty laid him out with a textbook hit.
"That was a good play," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "You know, both of those kids went at each other early in the first period, right in front of our bench. Hall came to Doughty, and it was pretty intense. They were looking to hunt each other down. That's two young guys who are going to end up playing against each other for 15 years. They're kind of setting the table here, for that kind of play. It was good to see the way Doughty responded. I was a little bit surprised at Hall at the beginning, because I don't know him that well, but he wanted to get his share of licks in there too."
The Kings ended up with a power play after Penner initiated a scrum following the hit, and although they didn't score on it they got the next three goals in a 5-2 victory.
"My intent wasn't to injure him or anything like that, he was flying through the center with his head down and I saw the opportunity to knock him off the puck, and I did just that, and, you know, hit him as hard as I could," Doughty said. "But those things are going to happen in a game and it definitely -- our team after that, I thought we picked it up and we were pretty dominant from that point on.”
Doughty also contributed on the offensive end, scoring an unassisted goal 2:44 into the third period.
"Yeah, you know, obviously it's great to contribute on the score sheet," said Doughty, who has 3 goals and 24 points this season. "I haven't been doing as much this year as I was last, but you know, sometimes the bounces just don't go your way, so to be able to pop one felt great."
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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