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Liveblog: Kings steamroll Golden Knights in home opener

The Kings did not back down against the Pacific Division’s biggest force in their season opener.

Oct 14, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) celebrates with right wing Adrian Kempe (9) after scoring a goal during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights at Staples Center. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings went head-to-head with the Vegas Golden Knights in their season opener. Their opponents had already been warmed up after a 4-3 win against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday night.

First Period

Cal Petersen gave up a juicy rebound early in the period, but defenseman Tobias Bjornfot managed to get a stick on it to clear it free. That most likely would’ve been a goal without his effort.

Drew Doughty took a nice wrist-shot off from the point, deflected by Dustin Brown and Viktor Arvidsson, but Robin Lehner found a way to save and cover it up to keep the score at 0-0.

Shea Theodore with a shot from the point and Petersen just wasn’t able to set himself in position in time. Maybe he lost an edge? The Golden Knights take a 1-0 lead mid-way through the first period.

Blake Lizotte did everything but put it in the net off of a slapshot from Mikey Anderson off the rebound. He was really jamming at the puck, but no go.

Alexander Edler, who was making his debut in Los Angeles, fired one on the net, which took a weird bounce and almost went in. The Kings needed some puck luck at this point.

Evgenii Dadonov somehow got past both Kings’ defensemen, and almost managed to score a highlight-reel goal, however, Petersen extended his pads and went into the splits to stop him from putting it in.

Brendan Lemieux and Golden Knights forward Keegan Kolesar dropped the gloves. Both players managed to land some punches, but it was Lemieux who got the better of the bout. Good opportunity to get some momentum into the team.

Doughty managed to get a pass right to Brown, who shot it the first time, got stopped, and then got his rebound to bury it and tie the game.

Vladimir Tkachev took an amazing shift, using some filthy hands to get around Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud. He didn’t get a shot off, but it was amazing to see the confidence on the rookie. He may just be a sleeper for the Calder trophy.

William Karlsson came down the wing with speed and got a strong shot off, but Petersen, who stayed deep in his net, gobbled it up to keep the game tied. He had been sharp since that first goal.

We got our first look at the Kings’ first power play unit, which contains Anze Kopitar, Viktor Arvidsson, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown and Vladimir Tkachev.

Kopitar netted his first of the season, wristing it from the point to the back of the net to give the Kings the lead.

Petersen finished with a solid period. He saved 12 of 13 shots, posting a .923 SV% and -0.12 GSAx.

Second Period

Phil Danault was hustling on his entire shift, and it led to him re-directing a shot from the point from Doughty to make it 3-1. His first of hopefully many in Los Angeles.

Mark Stone picked up the puck right in the slot, but Anderson managed to block it and redirect the puck out of play. It could’ve been a high danger shot on Petersen.

Alex Iafallo stole the puck and sent it to Adrian Kempe, who got loose on a 2-on-1 with Kopitar. Kempe faked the wrist shot and got the pass over to his counterpart, who easily fired it into the empty net with Robin Lehner down. 4-1, Kings.

Max Pacioretty was pushed into Petersen. Lemieux was not happy with that, he wanted a goalie interference call, but no-go.

Kempe got a look unmarked in the slot, but Lehner made sure to stop it. The Kings have dominated this hockey game.

Arthur Kaliyev got a nice look late in the second period, but backhanded the puck wide of the net. He looked pretty good at times so far.

Arvidsson and Brown got on a 2-on-1, Brown had the puck right in front of him with the empty cage, but it just barely skipped over his stick.

Petersen continued his good game, saving 20 of 21 shots up to this point, good for a .952 SV% and 0.92 GSAx. The Kings will need this play from him consistently into the third period.

Third Period

The Golden Knights decided to ride with Laurent Brossoit for the third period, yanking Lehner from the crease after a pretty undesirable performance.

Drew Doughty sent a blast from the point with Brown screening Brossoit upfront, and put the Kings up 5-1. He has been tremendous from the point with his shot selection.

Kopitar has been flying all over the ice. It’s been interesting to see how under the radar he has gone over the last couple of years. He is still an elite first-line center, and he has shown that tonight.

One thing I have noticed tonight is how great this first line has continued to be. Kopitar with two goals and two assists, Brown with a goal, and Arvidsson, who has been held pointless, but has had a plethora of scoring chances. Really fun to watch.

Bjornfot had a look in front of the net, but it was shouldered away by Brossoit. Score remained 5-1 with a little under 10 minutes to play.

Arvidsson, who was buzzing on the entirety of this shift, got the puck over to Kopitar, who quickly shifted to his backhand and buried it on Brossoit to finish off the hat trick. Such an amazing game for the captain.

Evgenii Dadonov fired a shot on net and it was weirdly deflected by Chandler Stephenson and past Petersen.

The Kings finish the game off and win it 6-2 to start the season off with a 1-0-0 record, and bring the Golden Knights down to 1-1-0.

Quick Notes:

  • Petersen started the game off very slow, but finished strong, despite not being tested with much. He completed the night with 23 saves on 25 shots, a .920 SV%, 0.97 GSAx, and obviously, the win.
  • The Kings' first line has the potential to be among the top offensive lines in the NHL. Kopitar, Arvidsson, and Brown combined for eight points and 16 shots. They are just determined to create scoring chances every time they are on the ice.
  • Drew Doughty looked like his prime self. One goal and three assists, he was looking for a scoring opportunity every time the puck touched his stick. If he keeps this up, there is no way the Kings will miss the playoffs. He looked like a legitimate number-one defenseman.