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Kings Game 66 Plus/Minuses: First Line Stays Hot & Fiala’s Injury

It wasn’t a flawless game though. So lets take a look at some pluses and minuses from the win.



The Los Angeles Kings kept pace with the Pacific Division Thursday, beating the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.

This marked the Kings fifth straight victory, the longest streak of the season for them.

This felt like the kind of game good teams win. Leading 2-0 after the first in a period they were second best. And shutting the game down after going back up two in the third period. 

It wasn't a flawless game though. So lets take a look at some pluses and minuses from the win.

+ The first line

The Kings' top line has been dominant in recent weeks and they showed up again on Thursday. 

That weren't their usual dominant self in the possession game, but were deadly efficient. 

They grabbed the Kings' first goal of the game, a two-on-one that ended with Adrian Kempe one-timing home Anze Kopitar's feed. 

And put the team up 2-0 with some help from Gabe Vilardi. After Kempe dumped the puck in and changed. Kopitar and Byfield won their battle down low and the former fed Vilardi who sniped Alexander Georgiev. 

This goal gave Kopitar two primary assists and extended Byfield's point streak to five games.

They then got themselves back on the board in the third period with Kempe burying his second of the game just 24 seconds in. 

A six point night between the three players underpins a great night for the top line. 

Kopitar, in particular, had a great night. He grabbed the three assists, but also won 66.7% of his faceoffs and was an important part of the penalty kill. He led all forwards in ice time, in all situations. 

– Kevin Fiala's Injury

Arguably the most important thing to come out of Thursday's game will be the long-term health of Kevin Fiala. 

In the second period, Fiala collided knee-on-knee with Andrew Cogliano and hyperextended his knee. He was taken off the ice and went straight down the tunnel. 

Fiala returned in the third period, but after a few shifts he had to return to the locker room. He didn't take another shift after leaving the second time. 

Fiala has been a massive part of the Kings going from the anemic offense we saw last season, to a top-10 offense in the league. 

He leads the team with 68 points in 66 games and has been a key factor in the Kings turning around their power play this season.

Fiala being able to return and take a few shifts is a good sign. It's unlikely there's major structural damage to his knee if he was able to return, but that doesn't mean he is in the clear. 

Losing Fiala now, as they Kings push for the top spot in the Pacific would be devastating. 

+ Jordan Spence

Jordan Spence is an NHL caliber defensemen stuck in the AHL because of the Kings logjam on the right side. And he proved that again on Thursday. 

Stepping into a third pair and second power play role to replace the injured Sean Durzi, Spence reminded everyone how comfortable he is at the NHL level.

He ended a plus one, with a primary assist and solid possession metrics. It's worth pointing out that he was given fairly sheltered minutes, but given e's only played four NHL games this season, that shouldn't be a surprise. 

Even more impressive than the assist is his defensive play. For a player who hangs their hat on puck moving and point production from the back end. Spence is a solid defender. 

Despite his lack of size, he rarely gets bullied in front or in the corners. He knows how to uses his edges and body positioning to win battles against bigger players. And uses his skating to cut down passing angles and strip attackers of the puck. 

There's been no information on Durzi's injury so it's unknown how long Spence will be with the team. But the coaching staff will feel very comfortable with him in the lineup if performances like that continue.

+ Trevor Moore

It's been a tough season for Trevor Moore, who's had to deal with injuries for much of it. His new tinted visor hints at concussion issues, something the Kings broadcast team brought up Thursday. And the weird timeline of his injuries would support that.

It seems like the Kings rushed him back into the lineup too early after the All-Star break and the extra time off has done him a lot of good.

Still not up to full speed, Moore looked much better Thursday.

It appears he's being eased back into the lineup, starting on the fourth line. But did jump into Fiala's role after he went down with the knee injury. 

Moore's big moment came on the penalty kill when he was sprung on a breakaway. But he was turned away by Georgiev. Still, shorthanded breakaways are a sign of the old Moore returning.  

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