Drew Doughty Spearheading Los Angeles Kings’ Comeback Effort in Round 1

Drew Doughty is back in a big way.

It’s no coincidence, either, that his return to form is occurring amid the Los Angeles Kings’ furious comeback in their first-round series against the San Jose Sharks.

Down 3-0 to its Californian rival only days ago, L.A. has staged a remarkable turnaround on the strength of its franchise blueliner, winning three straight contests to force a seventh and deciding game at SAP Center on Wednesday night.

Anze Kopitar has been stellar, as always, Justin Williams has proven worthy of his clutch reputation once more and Jonathan Quick has largely recovered from his rough patch, but Doughty has been the engine propelling this Kings team forward.

His knack for stifling the opposition’s stars while providing game-breaking offense of his own is truly something to behold. Moreover, his ability to dictate the tempo of a game is unparalleled.

Unfortunately, after suffering a shoulder injury late in the season, he wasn’t allowed the luxury of easing back into the swing of things before Game 1. It showed.

He wasn’t dialed into game speed—let alone the torrid pace of postseason hockey—and his decision-making wasn't as sharp as usual.

Without its tone-setter in top shape, L.A.’s back end crumbled in San Jose, keeping horrible gaps in the neutral zone and turning pucks over repeatedly. These fundamental errors carved out an easy path to victory for the Sharks, who gladly pounced on odd-man rushes to blow 13 goals by the Kings’ netminders in two games.

In a stunning turn of events, 6.5 goals a game were put up on a club that averaged a mere 2.05 goals against in the regular season.

Since then, the Kings have conceded eight times in four games and outscored the Sharks by eight goals.

In that span, Doughty has shaken off the rust and reclaimed his spot as one of the pre...

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