The Kings dropped one in Chicago in overtime on Wednesday night. The bad? It’s a loss and Phoenix won on Wednesday night. The good? Kings steal point from a team I figured they would lose to. It’s not pessimism, it’s creative rationing of hope!
The Kings carried a tight game into overtime and eventually gave up the game-winner to Patrick Sharp. Quick was solid once again, stopping 40 of 43 shots. The powerplay was 1 for 2 on the evening. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar tallied for the Kings.
Speaking of Kopitar, the man now has 31 goals on the season, 1 away from tying his career high for that stat and 7 points away from tying his career high in points at 77. Kopitar accomplished those numbers in his sophomore season. Kopi already has scored a career high 13 PP goals, and is 3 away from tying his career high in PP assists.
Kopitar is undoubtedly on pace for career numbers, but the biggest improvement won’t be goals or assists, but plus/minus. It’s that nebulous stat that some argue means very little. However, prior to this season Kopitar was a career minus-44. Granted those numbers are from the Kings bottom-feeding seasons, but one could also argue that having your number 1 center with those numbers is one cause to bottom-feeding.
Kopi is a plus-6 so far this season, up from a career low minus-17 last season. No doubt the coaching of Terry Murray has had a positive effect on the team’s defensive play as a whole. Also of note, for the large number of minutes Kopitar plays he has only 14 PIMs this season. Kopi has never been one to spend too much time in the box, his career high in PIMs being 32. Having your best player on the ice is certainly a boon to your club.
The big Slovenian is quietly one of the best centers in the league, slipping into a veritable black hole of recognition. He is the only NHLer from his nation. He plays in the non-traditional LA market. He isn’t boisterous or controversial. Nor is he, to be honest, particularly flashy. Kopitar is just a good solid franchise player.
Having grown every season in the NHL it will be interesting to see Kopitar take his next step toward developing into a Kings legend; the playoffs. Hopefully we will get to see what he can do in post-season play, and hopefully we’ll be impressed.
Until next time, keep reading my royal subjects!
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney