Jeff Carter is excited about his second All-Star game appearance and the celebration Los Angeles will throw for the NHL later this month, but don’t expect the 31-year-old forward to raise his hand for any skill competitions.
“If you watch my game, there’s not a whole lot of skill involved in my game. It’s a lot of skating and shooting,” Carter said after the Kings practiced Wednesday. “So hopefully they keep me out of the shootout competition and the trick shots and all that.”
The humble assessment was in keeping with his season, which has been filled not only with goals and assists but modesty.
He recently attributed a hot stretch to “just getting lucky.” He leads the Kings with 22 goals and was second in the league in that category heading into Wednesday’s games. He has not hit the 30-goal mark since joining the team in 2011, but is well on his way as the Kings (20-17-4) start the second half of their schedule against the St. Louis Blues (21-15-5) on Thursday night.
And that is why, among other reasons, he will join defenseman Drew Doughty in representing the Kings in the All-Star game at Staples Center on Jan. 29. The pair will skate with the Pacific Division team in the event’s bracketed three-on-three format.
“I don’t really do anything different. I think when [Anze Kopitar] got hurt it was a chance for some guys to step up and that was really how I looked at it from my point of view,” Carter said of his season so far. “Things have been going well for myself and my line personally. Pucks been going in the net and we’re creating some offense. So hopefully we can keep it going.”
Carter’s production has often propped up the Kings’ offense through an up-and-down first half.
Linemate Tanner Pearson is the only other player with more than 10 goals — he has 11 — and Kopitar has just four in 36 games. Marian Gaborik missed the start of the season because of a broken foot and has scored twice in 19 appearances. That has left Carter to shoulder the scoring load, and he has done his part.
Carter posted career highs in goals (46) assists (38) and points (84) with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2008–09. That unsurprisingly led to his only other All-Star selection. Eight years later he has 22 goals and 15 assists through 41 games, and it’s likely that only he believes not much skill is involved.
“He’s played awesome, obviously,” Doughty said of Carter on Wednesday. “He’s the only guy really scoring, and he’s been basically the majority of our offensive production. He’s playing well on both ends of the ice too, and working hard and setting a good example for all the rest of our players.
“So he’s very, very deserving of making this All-Star team, and if he wasn’t on it it wouldn’t be right.”
KINGS NEXT UP
VS. ST. LOUIS BLUES
When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Staples Center
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 790
Update: This is the teams’ first meeting since the Blues edged the Kings, 1-0, in St. Louis on Oct. 29. The Blues are third in the Central Division standings but have not won back-to-back games since Nov. 28 and Dec. 1. They are coming off a 5-3 loss to Boston on Tuesday and are 2-2 since the new calendar year. The Kings, who have also battled with inconsistency, are coming off a 6-4 loss to the Stars on Monday.