VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
BOX/MMA
CFL
More
Betting Tools

 
Gaborik adds scoring to Kings' plans

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Marian Gaborik's new teammates with the Los Angeles Kings initially wondered whether such a talented goal-scorer could fit into a defense-dominated team when he arrived in a trade last month.

Advertisement
Nobody is wondering anymore after Gaborik helped the Kings reach the postseason on a roll.

''It took me a little bit, but I think I adjusted pretty good,'' Gaborik said Tuesday while the Kings prepared for their first-round opener against San Jose.

Gaborik scored 16 points in 19 games as the Kings' top-line left wing down the stretch, adapting his game to coach Darryl Sutter's preferences while still providing his own unique offensive talents to the NHL's best defensive team. He fits in well in his third dressing room in two seasons, with teammates praising the veteran's commitment and talent with equal enthusiasm.

''I think he's been our best player since he's got here,'' defenseman Drew Doughty said.

''No matter who gets traded here, you wonder how they're going to fit into the system,'' Doughty added. ''(But) he played in Minnesota. He knew how to play that system back in the day. He's obviously amazing offensively, but he is good defensively. He tries his best, and that's all you can ask.''

Although Los Angeles has reached back-to-back conference finals, offense is seemingly always a concern. The Kings are the lowest-scoring team in the NHL postseason with just 198 regular-season goals, but Gaborik's arrival has assuaged many fears about their ability to score enough goals to win in the spring.

Gaborik's impressive speed immediately changed opponents' defensive game plans after his arrival from Columbus. He finally became the goal-scoring left wing that the Kings have long lacked to play alongside Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles' sublime playmaker and two-way center. Justin Williams plays the right side on a suddenly potent top line, and Gaborik's arrival allowed the Kings to balance out their depth lines as well.

Gaborik has five goals with his famously vicious wrist shot, but he has been even more valuable with 11 assists. He put together a three-point game in the Kings' road finale in Edmonton last Thursday.

Gaborik sees nothing special in his handling of what could have been a rough assignment in Los Angeles. Playing for Sutter didn't scare Gaborik after his experience under coaches with similar defensive demands such as Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota and John Tortorella with the Rangers.

''Just go out there, work hard and follow the system,'' Gaborik said. ''Make sure you're on the right side of the puck, and be in the right position when you're skating. Be on top of things.''

Gaborik's arrival and Los Angeles' ensuing excellence have echoed the Kings' success two years ago after they acquired Jeff Carter from Columbus during a disappointing regular season. Carter added his goal-scoring skills to a low-scoring lineup, and the Kings' goals-per-game average rose - just as it did this season after Gaborik pulled on a black jersey.

Doughty initially thought Gaborik was ''more of just a scorer,'' but quickly realized there was much more to his new teammate.

''He's kind of a guy like Carts, where Carts just seems to put pucks in the net,'' Doughty said. ''You don't understand how it goes in. It just goes in. He'll obviously get the pretty ones, too, but I thought he was just a pure goal-scorer. Just sat in the slot and found pucks and put them in. But he's a great passer, too, and he's good at finding open ice. He's good at getting support for his linemates and getting them out of a battle and then making a play to create an opportunity.''

While still near the prime of his career, the 32-year-old Gaborik is an impending free agent with a history of injury woes, so he realizes the urgency of every remaining chance at a Stanley Cup title. He has reached two conference finals in his NHL career, but never played for the Cup.

''You get that feeling that you're getting close, but it's really hard,'' Gaborik said. ''I'm really going to embrace this opportunity and take it, and I'm very excited for that. It doesn't come every year, and we feel we have a good team to do it.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
· Canucks acquire Kero from Blackhawks
· Flames biggest winner at NHL draft
· Boynton, Carcillo sue NHL over damage
· Teams wait on goalies at NHL draft
· Flames-Hurricanes trade spice up draft
· Kirk 1st born-and-trained Brit selected
· Hurricanes get Hamilton from Flames
· Avalanche put Orpik on buyout waivers
· Kovalchuk returns to NHL with Kings
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NHL Pro Hockey Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2017 NHL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Matt Fargo + 2891
Stephen Nover + 2831
Gary Bart + 2363
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 2243
Matt Fargo + 909
ASA + 95
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 3314
Bruce Marshall + 1446
Doc's Sports + 855
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Matt Fargo + 2766
Bruce Marshall + 1256
Scott Rickenbach + 934
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Matt Fargo + 2042
Bill Marzano + 1414
Scott Rickenbach + 1054
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 1048
Doc's Sports + 914
Gary Bart + 796
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership