The were fast, they hit hard, and they blocked shots. The Los Angeles Kings looked more like a veteran team and not like the worst team in the NHL on Thursday night.
The standings tell a different story but for one night the Kings showed their fans the promise that was expected for this season.
The Kings played their butts off against the high flying Winnipeg Jets.
The 4-1 win was by the most complete hockey game they’ve played all year. They out shot the Jets 30-28, they blocked 18 shots, and when something got through Jonathan Quick was there to make 27 saves.
The Kings effort was not lost on Drew Doughty who was all over the ice blocking shots and contributing to the scoreboard. His second period shot put the Kings up 2-1 for good when it was tipped in by Alex Iaffalo.
Kings 60 minute effort
Doughty who has taken on the role of a more vocal leader this year summed up the Kings effort.
“Tonight, I don’t think there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that we should have won that hockey game,” Doughty said. “
We played a full 60 minutes, and that’s really good Kings hockey. We need to do it again, and again.”
The effort that Doughty described could have been for Kings’ forward Austin Wagner. The young forward, with tons of speed, put up his first two-goal game of his NHL career.
He put the Kings ahead early in the first period tipping a shot that bounced wildly past the Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck.
In the second period, Wagner showcased his speed on a breakaway and again victimized Hellebucyk, putting the puck past him for a 3-1 lead.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 19, 2018
Wagner is one of the Kings young forwards who is making some other players look more and more expendable as the Kings try to get back to respectability.
It was just one game, the Kings realistically need 20 more in a row to turn their season around. For one night though the team reminded their fans of just how good they can be.