The Los Angeles Kings are looking for more scoring this year, hoping to better last season’s points total and erase the memories of not making the playoffs in 2017. They got hopeful signs via a pair of goals from Michael Cammalleri along with five points from their blueline as they beat Arizona 4-1 on Thursday.
The Kings (4-1-1) received third period goals from Jeff Carter, on the power play, and Cammalleri. Both goals came within the first five minutes of the period. Carter scored on the backhand, and Cammalleri tipped in a slapshot by Jake Muzzin. Jonathan Quick stopped 37 of 38 shots. Muzzin and Alec Martinez each registered two assists. Drew Doughty also had a goal.
Arizona (1-3-1) got its lone goal from Clayton Keller at 10:54 of period three, his third of the preseason. Louis Domingue made 34 saves in the loss for Arizona.
Alec Martinez commented after the game that he sees a new look to this Kings team.
“I think we’ve made some changes to our system a little bit. We’re looking for things like D getting up in the rush, and we’ve made some tweaks. They’ve helped us generate not necessarily more shots, but better shots. In the past, we had a lot of shots, but a lot of them were from the outside, and I think just the mindset, too. Guys are having more fun.” Martinez said.
Martinez added, “You look at all the successful teams of late, and they generate a lot off the rush. A lot of that is the D-man joining, being that fourth guy.”
Coach John Stevens echoed these thoughts.
“We did a lot of good things offensively,” Stevens indicated. “Once we got our feet moving and the puck moving ahead a little bit, we generated some good looks on the rush and we did some really good things in the offensive zone with getting people to the net.”
Stevens went on to say, “We had four goals, but we really had an awful lot of good looks, and I thought the power play really created some momentum for us.”
With two goals, Cammalleri obviously figures into the team’s renewed hopes for offense.
“We’re working on some things, and it feels good to win. I thought my first period went well, with Adrian [Kempe] and Andy [Andreoff]. I’m enjoying playing with those guys; they’re world-class hockey players. Getting the puck actually to the net is a great way to create offense. I feel great physically, and it’s great playing with this group of guys,” according to Cammalleri.
The Kings opened the scoring on Doughty’s power play goal at 15:53 of the first period. Doughty took a cross-ice pass at the left faceoff circle in the Arizona zone and put a wrist shot over goaltender Domingue’s left shoulder.
The Kings extended their lead to 2-0 on Michael Cammalleri’s goal with 3:57 left in the second period. Cammalleri redirected the puck under the left pad of Domingue from just outside the crease. It was Cammalleri’s first goal in his return stint with the Kings.
Cammalleri, as most fans will remember, started his pro career with the Kings. His first season was 2002-03, and he was traded away in 2008, missing the two Cups that came between then and now. He’s feeling like being back in LA might be the chance he needs to extend his career. Now 35, he looks about like he always did, albeit with at least two less teeth than he had when he was first with LA. He also says that he feels fine.
“Physically, I feel good. I feel just about as good as I ever have,” he commented after the game. It remains to be seen where he’ll play, but for sure, he’ll get a lot of power play time. His one-timer is famous, and for many onlookers, is the reason the Kings brought him back into their fold.
The LA team now plays again on Saturday night before awaiting a regular-season opener of Philly next Thursday night. They’ve got a huge list of players still in their camp, partly because their trip to China meant that they needed to carry a lot of guys so that they could also play games in North America.
The team has been given most of the week at a low intensity, according to Martinez, who said that he’s had a tough time getting over his jet lag after traveling around the world. “No matter how you cut it, a fifteen-hour time difference is a big deal,” he said after Thursday’s contest.
Just didn’t feel quite right with no Shane Down to talk to in AZ room after the game. . . . The Kings were to play the Coyotes at Gila River Casino on September 18th, but the game was cancelled due to arena conditions. . . . D Jake Muzzin leads the Kings with seven points. . . . The Kings have two players under the microscope in advance of final cuts—RW Jonny Brodzinski, who started the game alongside C Anze Kopitar and LW Dustin Brown, and D Oscar Fantenberg, who has one goal in the preseason. . . . The Coyotes have used five goaltenders thus far in the preseason. . . . The Kings conclude their preseason schedule on Saturday night at Staples Center versus the Anaheim Ducks. . . . Arizona moves on to play San Jose at the SAP Center on Saturday evening.