Puck-Moving Defensemen Carrying the Torch for Los Angeles Kings

It hasn’t been pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but the Los Angeles Kings’ two-game winning streak has vastly improved their postseason prospects.

They currently sit six points outside of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

Though the club’s overall defense remains sloppy on a good day, two blueliners have delivered a significant push from the back end to patch over weaknesses and haul the team back into the playoff conversation.

Standout efforts of this sort will prove critical down the stretch.


Drew Doughty

The 25-year-old has always been good in the regular season and phenomenal in the spring. His recent performance has skewed closer to the latter level, absolutely dominating games in spite of relatively weak partners.

Regular pairmate Jake Muzzin has struggled over the past 30 games, culminating in a slew of costly turnovers and an unceremonious demotion.

Here’s the extent to which he has held Doughty back this season:

Now with the shaky Robyn Regehr by his side, the All-Star has nevertheless provided scintillating outings over the past week.

He took on two of the league’s finest young centers—Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Columbus' Ryan Johansen—in consecutive games and limited them to a lone assist while posting a plus-eight in raw Corsi.

Up against top-tier competition, he dictated the flow by depriving his talented opponents of space and managing the puck superbly once possession was regained.

He also fired home a goal on Saturday, eschewing his favored slap shot for a smart, direct wrister that snuck through traffic as well as netminder Ben Bishop:

Few blueliners boast such a complete game—transitioning from shutdown defender to offensive game-changer. Frankly, only Nashville Pre...

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