Two guys who are (kind of) the face of hockey in their nation have the L.A. Kings rolling.
You won’t get much of an argument that Anze Kopitar is the king of Slovenian hockey, especially since he’s stormed out to the league scoring lead with 10 goals and 21 points in 12 games.
Ryan Smyth, often referred to as Captain Canada for his loyal and frequent service to Team Canada over the years, is having a renaissance season next to Kopitar, piling up six goals and 15 points.
All that production has L.A. off to a quality start, with a three-game losing streak sandwiched between two victory stretches of four games.
Maybe that Kings breakout people have been predicting for a few seasons now is finally upon us.
|1||1||9-2-0||8-2-0||Power play is 1-for-10 since Gonchar went on the shelf|
|2||5||8-1-2||7-1-2||Young T.J. Galiardi has been superb on the penalty kill|
|3||11||7-4-1||6-3-1||Nice win over Philly to conclude a six-game road trip at 4-2|
|4||7||7-2-1||7-2-1||Role players carrying the load in Calgary right now|
|5||14||6-1-1||6-1-1||How about a 1.69 goals-against average and .940 save percentage for Ryan Miller|
|6||16||6-3-0||6-3-0||Jay Pandolfo out 4-6 weeks thanks to a hit from behind by former teammate Mike Rupp in win over Pens|
|7||6||6-2-2||6-2-2||Longtime AHLers Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Girioux both have a goal during callup|
|8||4||6-3-1||6-3-1||Crafty Patrick Sharp leads Hawks with five goals and 10 points in 10 games|
|9||20||8-4-0||7-3-0||Team inked goalie Jon Quick to a three-year extension|
|10||2||7-3-1||7-2-1||Chris Higgins not endearing himself to new coach John Tortorella|
|11||15||5-2-4||5-2-3||Marty Turco starting to hit his stride|
|12||22||6-5-0||6-4-0||Don’t you feel silly for worrying about Roberto Luongo now?|
|13||10||5-3-1||5-3-1||Sure don’t look like top-flight contenders yet|
|14||3||6-4-0||6-4-0||Lost three games on the road last week, giving up six goals in each contest|
|15||12||6-3-0||6-3-0||Ed Jovanovski still getting it done with three goals and seven points in nine games|
|16||8||5-2-2||5-2-2||Newcomer Milan Michalek leads team with six goals|
|17||19||5-4-1||5-4-1||Six points in 10 games from grinder Steve Begin helps B’s deal with smattering of injuries|
|18||17||4-4-1||4-4-1||Young winger T.J. Oshie gone for about two weeks after having an appendectomy|
|19||26||5-5-0||5-5-0||Finally getting a few goals from guys who don’t play on the top line|
|20||18||6-4-1||6-3-1||Coach Pat Quinn sure figured out what button to push with Dustin Penner|
|21||13||3-4-2||3-4-2||Both Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard have GAAs more than 3.00 and SPs less than .900|
|22||9||4-3-1||4-3-1||Will foot injury derail Ilya Kovalchuk’s hot start?|
|23||23||3-3-3||3-3-3||Vinny ends 15-game goalless drought; so is he about to go on a run?|
|24||21||3-5-1||3-5-1||Just one win in five home games; dropped their last three by a combined 15-6 count|
|25||29||3-7-0||3-7-0||No points through seven road games|
|26||27||3-6-1||3-6-1||Already been blanked three times this season|
|27||24||2-6-1||2-6-1||Coughing up just over 37 shots per game|
|28||25||2-5-3||2-5-3||They went far in last year’s playoffs, so they take the next couple years off, right?|
|29||28||1-4-4||1-4-4||If nothing else, people seem to like Martin Biron’s old school paint job on his mask|
|30||30||0-7-1||0-7-1||Maybe return of goalie Jonas Gustavsson can help right ship|
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.