24 Mar 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Kyle Clifford has never spent much time on the power-play unit during his nine seasons with the Kings.
Still, it was somewhat astonishing to hear that when Clifford scored a power-play goal during the Kings’ 4-3 shootout victory over the rival Ducks on Saturday night at Staples Center, it was his first career power-play point, in his 599th game.
The most minutes Clifford has spent on the power-play unit in a given season is 16.4, and that came in his second season in 2011-12. Moreover, in nine seasons he has just nine power-play shots on goal.
Clifford, mostly a fourth-line player, isn’t concerned about all that stuff. An extremely hard worker, he just cares about doing his job[cq comment=” and doing it with gusto”].
“I don’t really put much thought into that,” said Clifford, when asked if it kind of blows him away that it took this long to get his first point with the man advantage. “Everybody’s got their role on the team and I know what mine us, whether it’s playing net-front on the power-play or playing hard forechecking, or just being a good team guy, I don’t really put a lot of thought into the personal statistics.”
Clifford, 28, is one of the toughest players on the team. He doesn’t have to be asked twice to drop the gloves. It therefore seemed only fitting that his power-play goal came off a deflection as he was positioned in front of the net, as that is a dangerous place to be without a goalie mask.
Overall, Clifford has a career-high nine goals this season. His 15 points tie a career-high.
Captain praises youngsters
Anze Kopitar is a forward, but he is a two-time Selke Trophy winner, an award given annually for the league’s best defensive forward.
Since defense means so much to him, reporters were all ears as he briefly discussed rookie defensemen Sean Walker and Matt Roy after Saturday night’s victory.
Kopitar started with Walker, when asked about him, then brought Roy into the conversation.
“He’s such a good skater that maybe even sometimes if he’s out of position just a little bit, he gains ground with his strides,” Kopitar said of Walker, “so very nice to see him play well.
“Him and (Roy), for that matter; logging some minutes.”
With the Kings missing the playoffs for the third time in five seasons, Kopitar intimated this is the time when the team should be seeing more and more of its younger players.
“That’s what we’re talking about in these games,” said Kopitar, whose team opens a three-game road trip Monday at Calgary. “It’s like an audition for some guys to show what they’re made of and what they’ve got.
“And I think we’re all liking what we’re seeing.”
[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section”]The Flames (47-21-7 ) have won six of their past seven games and lead the Western Conference with 101 points. They are led offensively by forward Johnny Gaudreau, who has a team-high 92 points on 35 goals and 57 assists.
The Kings and Flames have played twice this season. Calgary took a 1-0 victory Nov. 10 at Staples Center, and a 4-1 victory Nov. 30 in Calgary.
The Kings have recalled forward Michael Amadio from Ontario of the AHL. Amadio has four goals and four assists in 37 games with the Kings this season.
KINGS VS. FLAMES
When: Monday, 6 p.m.
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
Records: Kings 27-39-8 (62 points), Flames 47-21-7 (101 points)
Radio: Kings Audio Network (iHeartRadio)
TV: Fox Sports West