- Christian Folin, where’d that come from? The defenseman’s solid possession numbers took a nosedive in February, as his Corsi For% of 43.7% during the month took him from solidly in the black to a below-league-average figure. Thursday wasn’t much better as he got hemmed in on some late Columbus shifts and backed off (along with Jake Muzzin) on Seth Jones’ goal, but he did something he hadn’t done in all of February: got an assist. Then he did it again, and then he did it a third time. He’s the fifth King this year with a three-assist game, and amazingly, he did it before Anze Kopitar. (I’m assuming Kopi will get one in the next month though.) All three were primary assists, too! Folin’s finest assist was this delightful shot-pass:
- Alex Iafallo might be ready to go streaking. Tobias Rieder got a turn on the top line with Kopitar and Dustin Brown last week. He might have to wait a while for another turn after the way Iafallo played on Thursday. Even if you leave out the deflection and this perfect wrist shot to seal the game late, Iafallo was his “old” self, forechecking like a madman and finding loose pucks. The second goal made it 5-2, and OF COURSE it started with an Iafallo stick lift to steal the puck. He has points in two straight, one short of his longest point streak ever; I think he keeps this one going.
- Derek Forbort is pretty sore. The defenseman continues to play with Drew Doughty even after the arrival of Dion Phaneuf, and though he was on the ice for Cam Atkinson’s goal, he was really solid overall. Literally, solid; he blocked eight shots. He’s the third LA blueliner (after Folin and Alec Martinez, who’s done it three times) with eight blocks in a game this year. He also got the most defensive zone starts, along with Doughty, of any King, and held up quite well.
- Nate Thompson is on the board. With Trevor Lewis eyeing a return in the next week or two, Thompson is playing for his life. He’s still ending up stuck in the defensive zone too often for my taste — he, Kempe, and Jeff Carter allowed somewhere between eight and ten shot attempts in one minute during the third — but he’s winning draws again, and he scored a goal to start LA on the comeback trail. John Stevens appears to like him.
- Anze Kopitar was absent, but only on the scoresheet. You think the captain was upset about the turnover that led to the first Columbus goal? He got the puck back before Iafallo’s first goal, continued to hold off defenders at will, mostly held Artemi Panarin’s line in check, and dominated every time he wasn’t matched up against that top line.
Not sure I’ve seen a game where a player was as dominant and earned zero points.— Jamez Harriz (@JaZarris) March 2, 2018
- The other big dogs were here too. Quick had another fine showing, especially after the two early goals. Jeff Carter went shorthanded. Tanner Pearson still provides killer screens on the power play. Tyler Toffoli joined those two as LA’s most effective line. Doughty was Doughty. With the team so close to being healthy, their play was encouraging.
Now, if LA can do something about those starts, they’ll really be getting somewhere.