Los Angeles Kings remain among NHL’s best

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 28: The Los Angeles Kings celebrate after Tyler Toffoli
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 28: The Los Angeles Kings celebrate after Tyler Toffoli /

The 2016-17 season was disappointing for the Los Angeles Kings, as the team missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, this season, they are establishing themselves as one of the best teams in the NHL.

When the Los Angeles Kings went off to their first lengthy road trip two weeks ago at 5-0-1, NHL Hockey on NBC analyst Mike Milbury shared his view on their early success saying:

"“Sure Kopitar is scoring, Brown is scoring, and Quick is playing really well, but I’m not fooled!”"

All the Kings have done since then is go 5-2, helped by a successful 4-2 road trip putting them at the top of the NHL standings and tying for the franchise record for 10 wins in 13 games. These results beg the question of Milbury, are you fooled yet?

Of course, the answer is who cares what Mike Milbury thinks, what matters right now is that the Kings early season success is not looking like a mirage. Instead, the Kings are coming together to return among the Stanley Cup contenders of the NHL.

Their road trip consisted of wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets who are just behind the Kings as the second best defensive teams.  Both teams turned the defensive narrative onitss head by combining for 10 goals in the Kings 6-4 wins.

The Kings also finished off an early-season sweep of the Montreal Canadiens beating them 4-0 in their arena giving Jonathan Quick his 46th career shutout extending his franchise and American records.

Speaking of Quick it should be noted how much his return to form is part of the Kings early season success. He is in the top five in wins,goals-against average (GAA), save percentage, and actual saves. In his two games against the Canadiens alone Quick stopped 76 of 77 shots, meaning he’s seeing lots of shots and he’s still making the save.

I will concede that perhaps the injury to Jeff Carter fooled Milbury, Carter was slashed by a skate needing surgery meaning the Kings would be without one of their primary scoring threats for a few months. Perhaps thanks new coach Johns Stevens system, the Kings offense hasn’t missed a beat.

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Young prospect Adrian Kempe picked up the scoring slack by getting 6 goals after Carter went down, on Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs Carter’s prominent linemates Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli along with Kempe was the driving engine of the Kings 5-3 win.

The young trio combined for two goals and four assists giving them six points, scoring the Kings fifth and final goal all three touched the puck on a rush up the ice that overwhelmed the Leafs defense and essentially putting the game away.

With the best defense in the league, best penalty killing team, Jonathan Quick in fine form, and scoring from the top and secondary players the Kings after one month are poised for a good season.

Next: Four lessons from the Ducks roadtrip

An NHL season is a marathon and not a race, so there is plenty of season left for the Los Angeles Kings to struggle and succeed, but it’s obvious that this team is seeking to redeem itself after winning just one playoff game in three years. They keep up their current pace and maybe Mike Milbury will get fooled again.