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Los Angeles Kings season snapshot

Showed improvement in first year under McLellan; Petersen helped shore up goaltending

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.

Today, a snapshot of the Los Angeles Kings at the pause:

 

 
Los Angeles Kings

Record: 29-35-6, 64 points

Playoff position: 14 points behind Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks for second wild card into Stanley Cup Playoffs from Western Conference

The Kings almost certainly won't qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the strides they made under first-year coach Todd McLellan in the four weeks before the season was paused could prove to be beneficial heading into next season.

Los Angeles has won seven games in a row and is 10-2-1 in its past 13. The winning streak is the longest the Kings have had since they won eight straight from Nov. 25-Dec. 9, 2017.

It's a far cry from even early February, when a 4-1 loss at the New York Rangers on Feb. 9 was Los Angeles' fifth in a row and 10th in 11 games (1-9-1). But things began to turn with the play of goalie Calvin Petersen, who was recalled from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Feb. 5 after Jack Campbell was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

 

More Kings season snapshot coverage: Awards | Fantasy honors | Memorable moments

 

Petersen and Jonathan Quick helped shore up any lingering goaltending issues; Petersen won his final four starts before the pause, and Quick went 5-1-1 with a 1.53 goals-against average and .951 save percentage in his final seven starts.

Still, the Kings' early-season struggles created a gap that made it almost impossible for them to make the playoffs, leading to the trades of forward Tyler Toffoli, a pending unrestricted free agent, to the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 17, and defenseman Alec Martinez, who has one season remaining on a six-year contract, to the Vegas Golden Knights two days later.

Anze Kopitar has enjoyed another solid season with 62 points (21 goals, 41 assists) in 70 games. It's the 11th time the Kings captain has scored at least 20 goals in the NHL. Kopitar continues to play in all situations and is averaging 21:02 of ice time per game, tops among Los Angeles forwards.

Defenseman Drew Doughty continues to be a workhorse, averaging 25:49 of ice time per game, second in the NHL behind Thomas Chabot of the Ottawa Senators (26:00), and has 35 points (seven goals, 28 assists) in 67 games.

Video: Season Snapshot: Los Angeles Kings

 

Breakout player

Sean Walker: The 25-year-old undrafted defenseman has provided durability and an ability to contribute offensively at 5-on-5 in his first full NHL season. He's played in all 70 games for the Kings, and 19 of his 24 points have come at even strength. Walker played four seasons at Bowling Green State University (2013-17) and two for Ontario in the AHL (2017-19) before reaching the NHL last season.

Video: Top 10 Kings Plays ... Thus Far

 

Statement win

Kings 4, Golden Knights 1, March 1: The Kings marched into T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on the second of a back-to-back and ended the Golden Knights' eight-game winning streak. Petersen made 42 saves, including 19 in the third period, and Kopitar scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season in the first.

Video: Kopitar, Petersen propel Kings past Golden Knights

 

Most compelling game

Kings 3, Colorado Avalanche 1, Feb. 15: Toffoli became the first player to have a hat trick in an NHL outdoor game when the Kings defeated the Avalanche in the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at Falcon Stadium on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy. It was the 30th outdoor game in NHL history and was played in front of a sellout crowd of 43,574. Toffoli's second goal broke a tie with 55 seconds remaining before he scored an empty-net goal with five seconds left.

Video: Toffoli's hatty propels Kings to Stadium Series win

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