Kings keep winning despite recent adversity

BY foxsports • November 21, 2014

The news out of downtown Thursday night was that the Los Angeles Kings won their game against the Carolina Hurricanes. This was not entirely shocking -- the Hurricanes only have 15 points this season. But given the news that broke over in the South Bay earlier in the day, the hockey world was anxious to see how the Kings would play.

The answer is the same -- the Kings have played the same since losing defensemen Slava Voynov to an indefinite suspension 14 games ago. And in the last 14 games, L.A. has gone 7-4-3 and even won a game using only five defensemen. 

The team has maintained that Voynov's suspension has not been a distraction off the ice and on it, and they've seen serviceable contributions from Brayden McNabb and Jamie McBain, the latter of which will likely sit when Alec Martinez returns.

Thursday night's showing against Carolina, McBain's former team, wasn't exactly a blowout, but it was enough to earn two points, tying Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division. 

The defenseman corps earned strong reviews as the Hurricanes hard a difficult time even touching the puck.

"We controlled the game in the offensive zone, so we did what we wanted," said coach Darryl Sutter. "We tried to get to the net, but (Cam) Ward's been hot. We knew we had to get some traffic and some screens. Our defense did a really good job putting pucks there. We had a lot of shots from up top, we were trying to beat the defensemen to the net out of the corners with the style of the game that they play."

The Kings' 10 wins and 21 points on home ice at the Staples Center is the most in the league, and they haven't lost to Carolina at home since 2005. The score was close but it didn't feel like it as the Hurricanes got off only 27 shots and no more than 11 in any period.

"We had a hard time handling their size on the walls," said Carolina coach Bill Peters. "They wore us out in the (defensive) zone, they were a heavy team in the offensive zone and we spent too much time in there tonight."

With the announcement that Voynov is going to be formally charged with felony corporal injury to a spouse stemming from his domestic abuse arrest last month, the NHL made it clear that the Kings will be without the Russian's services for quite a while. 

The veteran defensemen are still playing heavy minutes and even McNabb has been playing around 20 the last few games. There are questions of whether hey're being overplayed, Drew Doughty in particular, but when Martinez returns, the workload will be alleviated. 

For now, the Kings are doing just fine without Voynov.