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Dwight King taking advantage of opportunity with L.A. Kings

September 25, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Dwight King, shown in May, has looked strong in the Kings' first two preseason games.
Dwight King, shown in May, has looked strong in the Kings' first two… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Dwight King didn't need exit meetings to reinforce what did not go right for him on the ice.

He knew it even before sitting down with General Manager Dean Lombardi and Coach Darryl Sutter after the playoffs last season. The upward trajectory of his Kings' career had slowed in the lockout-shortened season with four goals and 10 points in 47 games.

In the Kings' run to the Stanley Cup, King scored five goals and eight points in 20 games.

Lombardi and Sutter told him to "refresh." During the lockout, he played 28 games with the Kings' minor-league AHL affiliate in Manchester, N.H., and 19 more with Ontario of the ECHL.

"I didn't have a great year last year and [needed] to kind of get back to when I started here, to have that mind-set coming in," he said Tuesday night after the Kings beat the Ducks, 2-1, in a preseason game at Staples Center.

"It was a different situation coming into a shortened season, and I played on two different teams through the year, and having games, day in, day out, was something new. It's a lot of mental preparation that you have to get better at as you get older."

Captain Dustin Brown's injury situation has enabled King to play on a line with center Anze Kopitar and right wing Justin Williams. Brown is returning from a hamstring injury suffered on the first day of training camp.

But King has stepped up and taken advantage of the opportunity in the last two exhibition games, in particular, setting up Kopitar's game winner against the Ducks.

"He's being responsible. He's being smart," Williams said. "I don't think anyone has taken the puck off him in two games. When he's got it in the corner, he's either going to protect it, or wait for our help. ... He's playing well. He's a strong boy and we're going to need that throughout the season."

Two games, although helpful, don't give a complete read on the situation.

"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves," Williams said. "But you are going to get better every year you play in the league. You are going to learn something every time you are out there about yourself and what you can do out there.  And what you can't do.

"It's Kinger's third year here and he's going to be counted on to be a big player for us."

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