The postgame conversation in the Kings dressing room started off about rookie center Nick Shore, but linemate Justin Williams extended it to other aspects of the organization.
Shore had an assist in the Kings’ 4-0 victory over the Canucks and was a force in the faceoff circle, winning eight of nine in Vancouver on Thursday night. It’s one thing to do that at the collegiate level or even in the American Hockey League but another matter against NHL competition.
He has appeared in 21 games and has five assists, including three in the last five games. Shore logged 13 minutes 19 seconds of ice time against the Canucks, a career high, which shows increased trust from Kings Coach Darryl Sutter.
“I think management has done a really good job of bringing guys in,” said Williams, who had five points in the last two games.
“Not only bring them in, but bring them in to have an impact. You look at the guys we brought up, [Tanner] Pearson and [Tyler] Toffoli last year, and a few years ago it was [Dwight] King and [Jordan] Nolan.”
The big trades that General Manager Dean Lombardi made at or before the deadline — Jeff Carter (2012) and Marian Gaborik (2014) — get most of the attention, and rightly so. But the moves Williams referred to played an integral part in putting the complete puzzle together.
The ever-shifting playoff scenarios have been fascinating. If the playoffs started Friday, the Kings would have been the second wild-card team in the Western Conference and would face St. Louis, the top-seeded team in the Central Division.
Lou Korac of NHL.com, who covers the Blues, asked St. Louis Coach Ken Hitchcock if he got up Friday and noticed that fact.
“Yep, sure did. Can’t pick your dance partner,” Hitchcock told NHL.com. “I got a feeling I’m not the only coach looking at that team. I think there’s a lot of people.
“They’re the big, ugly bear that everybody watches. When is he going to look for the garbage? He’s looking in the garbage can now; he’s entered the dumpster.”
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Etc.: Williams had three assists Tuesday against Colorado and two points (a goal and an assist) Thursday against Vancouver, making it the first time he had consecutive multi-point games since the final two games of the 2011-12 season.