As if often happens, there was one more request. It was a journalist from Slovenia wanting to talk about center Anze Kopitar. As soon as Sutter heard those words, he looked like someone who had all the time in the world, not someone eager to get on the team bus Sunday night.
"Best player in tonight's game," Sutter said.
Kopitar had been just that, not only against the New York Rangers but frequently sensational in the first quarter of the season. He had a goal and an assist in the Kings' 5-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, completing a stretch of 10 points in the last nine games, five of them goals. In 22 games, Kopitar has six goals, 21 points and is a plus-nine.
"There's plenty of guys we look to in this room, certainly not one guy," forward Justin Williams said after Tuesday's victory. "Kopitar's a guy who plays heavy minutes and is probably our best player, but there's a lot of guys you look to in certain situations when you need them.
"Guys are stepping up right now."
The Kings are off to their second-best start in franchise history, recording 31 points in 22 games, and the contributions have been by committee. Of course, goalie Ben Scrivens has been front and center since starter Jonathan Quick suffered a groin injury Nov. 12 in Buffalo.
Scrivens has won four games in a six-day span, recording a 1.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .963. Overall, he leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.35), save percentage (.949) and shutouts (three) through Tuesday. Josh Harding of Minnesota, who has two shutouts, is second in goals against at 1.38.
KINGS VS. NEW JERSEY
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Staff writer Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.