The Kings’ three-pronged attack of Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick was recognized Wednesday with their selection for the NHL All-Star game, along with first-time All-Star Rickard Rakell of the Ducks.
The Kings are the only team in the Western Conference to have three players chosen for the Jan.28 game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. The contest will follow the three-on-three format that was implemented in 2016, with the four divisions in a three-game tournament for a $1-million prize. The exhibition will take place because NHL players are not participating in next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Kopitar’s 17 goals are five more than he had last season, and his 44 points are eight shy of his 52-point total. Doughty leads the league in average ice time at more than 27 minutes per game. His next goal will give him sole possession of second, behind Rob Blake, on the Kings all-time list for defensemen goals at 100. Quick ranks in the top six in the NHL with a 2.31 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and three shutouts.
Rakell makes his first All-Star appearance at 24. He leads the Ducks with 15 goals, 16 assists and nine multi-point games. Seven of those goals were scored in a six-game goal streak, the second-longest streak in the NHL this season, after Nikita Kucherov (seven) of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Kucherov is one of four Lightning representatives, along with defenseman Victor Hedman, forward Steven Stamkos and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy Forward Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks is the only rookie selection.
The phenomenal season of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights resulted in All-Star selections for forward James Neal and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, in addition to coach Gerard Gallant for the Pacific Division. Vegas’ .725 points percentage is higher than the midseason winning percentage of any expansion team in its first season than that of the NBA (since 1961-62), Major League Baseball (since 1961) or NFL/AFL (since 1960), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The Lightning, who also hosted the game in 1999, are celebrating their 25th season. The Kings hosted last year’s event at Staples Center in conjunction with their 50th anniversary.