Our first installment of Travel Alberta’s ‘Top 5 Plays of the Week’ covers the first week-and-a-half of the Kings’ 2015-’16 season, where in five games, the team posted a 2-3-0 record, all on home ice at STAPLES Center.
Although the club got off to a rather slow start, the last two games have provided plenty of exciting plays to work with – including some OT magic and a continuation of Tyler Toffoli’s prowess as a natural-born goal scorer.
10/13 vs Colorado - Marian Gaborik’s first goal of the season
Near the end of a very aggressive period of play, Marian Gaborik found himself alone in the slot after some very nice perimeter puck movement exhibited by the Kings. Anze Kopitar worked the puck up to Brayden McNabb, who then found Dustin Brown with a pass across the point. Brown, spotting Gaborik open and alone, dished a pass to the open winger, who in turn beat Colorado’s Reto Berra with a wrist shot low to the blocker side, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead.
10/9 vs Arizona – Tyler Toffoli’s shorthanded marker
Entrenched in a four-goal deficit against the Coyotes in their second game of the season, the Kings turned what could’ve made the night worse, into a bit of good when Tyler Toffoli struck for a shorthanded goal. Jeff Carter jumped on a fumbled puck atop Los Angeles’ zone, sped in on Arizona’s Mike Smith, who made the initial stop, but Toffoli followed up to bury the rebound. Toffoli led the NHL with five shorthanded goals last season, and maybe best of all, this goal came during the McFlurry minute!
Early on in the Kings’ game against the Canucks last Tuesday, Drew Doughty lost handle of his stick when he got tangled up in the neutral zone with a Canucks forward. While the play transitioned up ice, Milan Lucic, using his instincts and his own stick, flipped Doughty’s stick back to him mid-play. Talk about an assist!
10/18 vs Colorado – Toffoli’s interception and breakaway
Tyler Toffoli got the wheels churning on the Kings’ second win of the season, when he sensed hesitation from Colorado’s defense and intercepted a cross-ice pass, from where he sped in alone on Reto Berra, beating him with a few quick shimmy-shakes of the shoulders, burying the puck low to the goaltender’s glove side. Toffoli’s goal gave him three on the season, and was the night’s eventual game-winner.
10/16 vs Minnesota – Anze Kopitar’s OT-winner
Boy, was this huge. The Kings got their first taste of 3-on-3 OT Friday night against Minnesota, and it ended in magnificent fashion. After the Wild turned the puck over in Los Angeles’ zone, a gassed Anze Kopitar transitioned up the ice with Tanner Pearson. Once inside Minnesota’s zone, Pearson found Kopitar, who was all alone, with a pass, and the Kings’ star forward walked in and fired a wrist-shot past Darcy Kuemper, giving the Kings their first win of the season!
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