Week Nine Breakdown: LA Kings

The Kings played a grueling four games in six nights during week nine of the season. The week broke down into two halves. The Kings won in a comeback-like fashion for the first time since 2007 to win a game while down three goals in the third period, to secure a place in history to tie the Buffalo Sabres for the most road wins to start a season. Drew Doughty would clap a slapper bar down on the first offensive zone possession in Overtime. They would go on to break the record in shutout fashion in Montreal, cultivating a goal everyone who has followed Quinton Byfield has desired him to score since he put on a Kings uniform.

The other side of the coin is two losses. The Kings salvaged a point against the Islanders in which they uncharacteristically gave up a two-goal lead in the third period, breaking their run of NHL history. They would arrive to play a premiere matchup against the Rangers, playing a tight game until the final ten minutes, losing 4-1. The actual loss here is Vladislav Gavrikov’s outlook. Gavrikov took a knee on knee from Anders Lee of the Islanders, not returning to action that night. He played through the first period and did not return for the rest of the game.

Key Takeaways

Q

Quinton Byfield continues to shine. Outside of his goal in Montreal, he has continued to be a force. At some point in his career trajectory, the vision is that he will one day become the 1C. Taking over for Kopitar isn’t the most straightforward task, nor is it a fair one. Kopitar isn’t being dethroned anytime soon, but seeing the play of Byfield of late looks promising that he will become the player that is envisioned to take over at least the 1C, maybe not the Hall of Fame attributes that the all-time Kings leader in assists has. At some point, not likely this season, Byfield will have to transition to center. In the meantime, continue to use that size, speed, and shiftiness to play his game confidently. He will continue to play top competition and grow. He’s 21 years old, by the way.

Trevor Moore has a legitimate shot at being a 30-goal scorer.

Moore continues to lead the team in goals and is a menace to the opposition. Moore relies on an explosive lower body to make quick pivots and reversal moves that shake off defenders one-on-one. If teams are keying in on established goal scorers such as Adrian Kempe or Kevin Fiala, a tertiary option such as Moore has come with great dividends to the Kings’ offense. His release is deceptively strong, and quick hands allow him to work in tight spaces. He was one of the better players on the trip, and there isn’t doubt that if he stays healthy, he should be a lock for 30 goals. Quite the contract deal for Rob Blake and company.

Next Man Up

The remaining options are pretty straightforward, with Gavrikov’s future health unforeseeable and undetermined. The Kings have the choice of deploying Tobias Bjornfot or Jacob Moverare. Tobias Bjornfot has the experience advantage of McLellan but has only played one game this year for the club and has since played in eight games with the reign, taking a scary hit while down in the AHL. Tobias has struggled with consistency and matchup deficiencies. When he’s on, he uses his skating to get out of trouble and has NHL size to handle the physicality. He’s played with Matt Roy extensively, but the Gavrikov-Roy pairing was one of the best in the league. The Kings would surely downgrade in that respect, but the other option is Moverare, who is not fleet of foot in a very fast league. Moverare is more cerebral and uses his range, but all signs would point towards a Bjornfot return before a Moverare insert, even if Moverare has the mold of a slower Gavrikov.

The Kings will return to action Wednesday against Winnipeg to face three familiar faces. One of them received an injury during an awkward collision with Blake Lizotte.

Bad blood in the air? You hate to see it.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Connor Doyle

US Navy Veteran and UCLA Class of 2024. Background in International Development Studies. Los Angeles born and raised. Following hockey for over a decade.

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