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Kopitar, Lecavalier Highlight Emotional January for LA Kings

Photo credit: Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

As far as points and wins go, it wasn’t quite as good as the first three months of the season but January for the Los Angeles Kings was nonetheless a good one. They sported a 6-5-1 in the month, closing it out remaining first in the Pacific Division with a six-point lead.

The biggest off-ice news for the Kings this past month was undoubtedly Anze Kopitar‘s new contract. The Slovenian signed an eight-year extension worth $80 million and better, kept up his competitive play on the ice. In January, Kopitar led the Kings in points with 14 (three goals, 11 assists). Other notable mentions for the month were Jake Muzzin who had a goal and nine assists and Drew Doughty, who netted four goals. Of those four, two came on the power play and one was shorthanded — all while averaging 28:12 of ice time per game and continuing a serious push for this year’s Norris consideration.

Like in each of the first three months, Milan Lucic led the way in hits for Los Angeles. In January, he had 28 hits which was 15 fewer than December and 29 fewer than in November. Still, while his physical numbers have decreased, Lucic is nonetheless a solid presence for the silver-and-black when it comes to dishing out punishment.

For the fourth-straight month, Alec Martinez has led the Kings in blocked shots. However, his total of 29 has decreased from his 36 in December. Still, the 28-year-old has established himself as a stalwart on the Los Angeles blueline which has been critical to the Kings’ success thus far this season.

Their record in January certainly doesn’t jump off the page. After all, the Kings did squander a late lead to Ottawa and two leads to Colorado last game. Still, the silver-and-black are looking strong enough that they display their usual resilient ways. That was most evident this past week in San Jose when they tied the game in the dying seconds of regulation before winning in overtime. As for who scored the late equalizer, it was veteran Vincent Lecavalier, who has been nothing short of impressive since his acquisition earlier in the month.

On Jan. 6, he and Luke Schenn were acquired from Philadelphia and both have paid immediate dividends.

After notching just one assist in seven total games for the Flyers this season, the 35-year-old Lecavalier already has four goals — three of them coming on the power play in consecutive games — while Schenn, in 10 games with the Kings, has been just what the club has needed on the backend, dishing out a total of 34 hits and 11 blocked shots.

As for Jonathan Quick, he equaled his November record of 5-4-1 while matching his save percentage from that month with .909. His save percentage, though, was a bit better at 2.29, although it had risen from December’s total of 1.97. Still, Quick was better than his January record indicated as he made a number of clutch saves to either help the Kings win or keep them close in games.

Closing out January, the Kings received some tough news as the team’s legendary broadcaster Bob Miller will be taking a medical leave of absence to have heart surgery. This is an emotional time for the entire Kings family, from the broadcasters to the coaches and players to the fans as all of us wish Bob the very best and a speedy recovery.

The Kings entered January in good shape and leave it the same way. Now, fans will get a break as they get to watch Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick representing their club at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

Let’s hope that February brings a bit more success for the silver-and-black.

About Ryan Cowley

Ryan Cowley has been writing about the Los Angeles Kings since 2009, beginning as the head writer and editor of Make Way for the Kings since its inception. Until the summer of 2015, Make Way was run by the FanvsFan Network (www.makewayforthekings.com) but has since become independent at its new address: www.makewayforthekings.net Ryan is an NHL-accredited writer who has covered such events as the Stanley Cup Final and Stadium Series. He is also a graduate of Comedy Writing & Performance from Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.

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