Multiple-choice time: Reasons why the Kings are surging, on a three-game winning streak, and with just one road loss (in overtime) in their last seven games.
A) Anze Kopitar.
B) Jonathan Quick.
C) Andrej Sekera.
D) All of the above
The abilities of the Kings center, Kopitar, on a five-game point streak, and their goalie, Quick, who was in goal for the three-game sweep of the New York-area teams, have been well-chronicled.
But Sekera, acquired in a deal with Carolina shortly before the trade deadline, has increasingly shown his value, nicely adjusting to the style of play in the Western Conference.
He scored his first goal with the Kings on Monday at New Jersey and cleverly fired off a slap-pass, which Kopitar redirected for the game-winner Thursday night against the New York Islanders in the 3-2 victory.
Sekera hasn't been on the minus-side of the plus-minus ledger since his second game with the Kings, at Winnipeg on March 3. In the last two games of this trip he is a combined plus-three.
"He's been good," Kopitar said Thursday night. "He's obviously been very big. He's been able to take some minutes off Dewey [Drew Doughty] too, which always comes in handy.
"He's been making plays the last two games, which is huge for us."
Sekera has logged about 20 minutes of ice time in three of the last four games, and he played 26 minutes 31 seconds Tuesday against the Rangers, the most ice time he has had with the Kings.
Heading into Friday night's action, Doughty is leading the NHL in average ice time (29:08), but he logged 27 minutes against the Islanders and just over 21 minutes against the Rangers.
"He's a huge asset for us. He can play that off-side, I know first-hand that's not very easy all the time."
The Kings have been going back and forth with the Flames in the Pacific Division standings and held a one-point lead before Friday's action.
Calgary, like the Kings, is on a tough late-season trip. The Kings and the Flames play each other one more time, at Calgary, in the second-to-last game of the season, on April 9.
When: 5 Pacific.
On the air: FS West; Radio: 790
Etc.: The Kings did not practice Friday, a scheduled off-day in Minnesota. Through an odd quirk of the schedule, they were staying at the same hotel as Calgary in St. Paul because the Flames played the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.