The Kings Survive A Solid Road Trip, Carcillo Producing

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The Los Angeles Kings come out in victorious fashion as they end a horrible four-game road trip through the southwest. Hockey in the southwest…insert jokes here. And before you go on about LA having a hockey team, remember this! The Kings were a part of the 1967 expansion  double the league from the Original Six. With that being said, LA comes out of the south with a 3-1-0 record.

They won in a shoot out against the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3, destroyed a bad Florida Panthers team 3-0, got punched in the mouth by a quick Tampa Bay Lightning club 1-5 and just shut down a familiar foe in a shoot out as the Kings beat the Nashville Predators 2-1. Anze Kopitar had the sweet back hand goal to win it at Nashville. Road games tend to show their mettle in some teams and the Kings were definitely grinding their teeth on this one. So what does that mean?

Kings head coach, Darryl Sutter, changed things up four games ago when the Kings had a record of 1-2-0. He replaced forward Colin Fraser and defenseman Jake Muzzin for forward Daniel Carcillo and defenseman Alec Martinez and since, they are 4-1-0. Although both Carcillo and Martinez had made some noise in their first game of the season against the Ottawa Senators, only Carcillo has sustained that intensity.

In four games, Carcillo has 2 points (1+1), but it is his “entity” that has made an impression for the Kings. He is, in a way, the new enforcer in town, but it appears as though he is not trying to be an all out goon. He is getting to where he needs to be, he is displaying figure skater-esque moves and but still doing the dirty work for the Kings whilst showing a little less teeth. I liked it when the Kings picked him up form the Chicago Blackhawks and I am liking it even more now.

Martinez has been a different story. Aside from the excitement he generated in his first game, he has been a ghost ever since. Martinez replaced Muzzin, but was it a smart move? Muzzin, who rightfully needed a trial separation, especially with a +/- of -5, is tied for sixth on the team for most points (1+1:2) and did that in only three games. Everyone above him in points has had eight games to accumulate those statistics. The thing about Muzzin is that he is young, which means two things. First, he will make mistakes, but he is learning. Second, if anybody recalls his game from last season, he was a hockey god for several short stretches. Martinez has not really had that in his arsenal. In my opinion, Muzzin needs a second go at an active defensive pairing, specifically with Drew Doughty because this guy has not had the best start to the season either.

The Kings now come home for a four-game stand at the Staples Center. I know it is only eight games in, but LA has a better road record (4-2-0) than they do at home (1-1-0). That is all fine and dandy for stat geeks, but you have to realize that LA has some momentum. Aside from the horrible Tampa Bay game, the Kings played well away from home, especially against two teams they have not seen in two seasons (Carolina and Florida) and should bring the fury in their next few games.

Rest for now Kings fans. Staples Center will be rocking in due time. For now, it is assessment and game plan time as LA gets ready to host former division rival, the Dallas Stars, Saturday at 7:30pm.



Mike W.R.

Twitter: @TheBigDisco