A few more takeaways from the Kings’ latest win against another Pacific Division foe, close to finishing a stretch of 10 of 11 games on the road:
Leadership taking shape
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi is on this trip with the team. After the game, he talked about how the leadership group is evolving in this season of transition. Specifically, what the current top-end players learned from their former teammates, say, Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll.
“We’re starting to see an evolution in [Anze] Kopitar now, becoming a Justin Williams,” Lombardi said. “And (Drew) Doughty … [taking] a piece of Stoll. There’s a piece of those guys still in there. Jeff Carter, his growth as a leader has been ten-fold.
“A lot of those intangibles in hockey that you understand. A lot of the same players but different roles on your chemistry [makeup]. It’s a metaphysical side – there’s that feeling you get. You know when you are around teams, there’s an evolution that takes place.
“It was going to have to happen. Your best players have to be your best leaders.”
Quick’s continued dominance vs. the Oilers
Of course, it made sense for Kings Coach Darryl Sutter to start goalie Jonathan Quick against Edmonton even though Quick had played the night before in Vancouver.
It went beyond the fact Quick’s workload against the Canucks was not exactly overwhelming.
After Tuesday night, Quick’s career record versus the Oilers is 17-1-5 with a goals-against average of 1.66 and a save percentage of .937.
It will likely be the first of many goals for the talented rookie forward Michael Mersch.
He scored his first career NHL goal, giving the Kings a 2-0 lead in the second period. Incidentally, his teammate defenseman Derek Forbort scored his first goal in the NHL on Monday night in Vancouver.
Mersch’s goal came in his ninth NHL game.
“I just watched it on video actually,” Mersch said in the dressing room after the game.
“Andy [Andreoff] was able to grab it from their guy and bring it into the offensive zone with some speed. The puck ended up in the corner, and I was able to come there for a cycle. Andy kind of tipped it out and I was able to take it to the net and beat the goalie five-hole.
“We work on that stuff all the time after practice. You do it in practice and it pays off in games.”