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Anze Kopitar's goal breaks drought

His first since Nov. 22 helps Kings beat Vancouver, 4-1, and improve to 4-0-2 under Coach Darryl Sutter.

January 01, 2012|By Helene Elliott
  • Kings center Anze Kopitar celebrates after scoring against the Vancouver Canucks in the second period Saturday night at Staples Center.
Kings center Anze Kopitar celebrates after scoring against the Vancouver… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

Center Anze Kopitar had gone 17 games without a goal but was sure the chances he was getting would turn into goals.

"I'm confident. I believe that it's going to happen soon," he said Saturday before the team's morning skate.

Players always say that when they're not scoring. This time, it came true.

Kopitar scored the third goal in the Kings' 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, taking a fine pass from Justin Williams and holding onto the puck before lifting a backhander past goaltender Roberto Luongo. It was an emphatic moment in a convincing performance that improved the Kings' record under Coach Darryl Sutter to 4-0-2 and extended their point streak to a season-best seven games (5-0-2).

On the play that led up to his first goal since Nov. 22, Kopitar planned the whole time to stay on his backhand.

"I didn't know if I was going to slide it five-hole because he always stretches out pretty good. I just figured I'd drag it a little more and try to put it over his pad and luckily for me it went in," he said of Luongo.

The Kings' overall effort was exemplary, played with the quickness and aggressiveness Sutter has been preaching.

"It shows a lot about our game right now because Vancouver is always aggressive. They're always on the puck pretty quick and [on Saturday] we matched their intensity," Kopitar said. "Every time you can do that you spend a lot more time in the offensive zone than you do defending…. We have to be quicker on pucks, we have to recover more pucks, especially in the offensive zone. When you recover you have possession time and therefore you get chances off that. We want to build on that and keep going."

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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