McLellan Reaches 500 Wins, Byfield, & Turcotte

On this version of Los Angeles Kings Information & Rumors, I’ll be discussing coach Todd McLellan reaching his five hundredth win as an NHL head coach, Quinton Byfield’s game-winning purpose in Ontario, and Alex Turcotte’s NHL debut.

McLellan Grabs five hundredth Win

Saturday’s huge 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers marked win No. 500 for McLellan, making him the twenty seventh coach in league historical past to achieve that mark. The win additionally introduced the Kings to 4 video games over .500, 6-3-1 of their final 10 video games. The crew seems to be discovering their ft after an inconsistent begin to the season.

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Fan opinion continues to be considerably break up on McLellan, although, with some followers fearful about his potential to make the most of the crew’s deep pool of prospects. No matter opinion, the Kings have improved this season and he’s getting this crew to play successful hockey. It was reported earlier than the season that administration was firmly behind McLellan and sees him because the coach to navigate them by means of the latter levels of this rebuild. The crew’s present success will solely reaffirm that opinion.

Byfield Calls Recreation

In his second sport again from his stint on the COVID protocol listing, Byfield grabbed his first level of the season, a silky additional time game-winner that accomplished the Ontario Reign’s comeback over the Bakersfield Condors on Sunday. After struggling to search out offense upon his return from a damaged ankle he suffered in preseason, this purpose will hopefully open the flood gates for Byfield as he seems to realize conditioning earlier than becoming a member of the Kings. Since his return, he has performed all the things however register factors, exhibiting off large enhancements in his defensive sport, and a capability to have an effect on the sport in all three zones.

Quinton Byfield, Los Angeles Kings (Picture by Christian Petersen/Getty Photographs)

Earlier than he entered COVID protocol, the plan was for Byfield to hitch the Kings whereas second-line middle Phillip Danault was out with COVID, so he ought to be part of the crew quickly. He’ll probably tackle the middle spot Turcotte is occupying, with Turcotte both returning to the Reign or transferring to wing. It’s been a troublesome yr for the Kings’ star prospect with accidents and COVID inflicting him to play simply six video games up thus far, however he’s trending up proper now and ought to be within the NHL quickly.

Turcotte Makes NHL Debut

With Danault out of the lineup upon the Kings’ return to play towards the Vegas Golden Knights, Turcotte made his NHL debut on the crew’s second line. It was asking plenty of him to return in and debut, changing Danault, and matching up towards an excellent Golden Knights crew, however he performed a strong sport, all issues thought of. His zero factors, minus-1, and two penalty minutes painted a far worse image than the truth of his debut. He was defensively accountable, good on the forecheck, and created a number of probabilities for his linemates. He additionally did sufficient to retain his spot within the lineup for the subsequent two video games.

Alex Turcotte of the U.S. National Development Program
Alex Turcotte Previously of the U.S. Nationwide Improvement Program (Rena Laverty/USHL)

He noticed his ice time decreased within the subsequent two video games, transferring right down to what would primarily be the fourth line, with the supposed fourth line incomes themselves extra ice time. His decreased utilization on Thursday towards the Vancouver Canucks was irritating to observe, as his line was one of many crew’s handiest by means of two intervals, but they have been barely used within the third interval. The decreased ice time on Saturday towards the Flyers made extra sense, because the crew’s different three strains have been enjoying nice hockey and made it tough for him to search out shifts.

With gamers coming back from COVID and accidents, and Byfield possible incomes a call-up quickly, who is aware of how lengthy he’ll be within the lineup. Regardless, he’s proved the final three video games that he’s greater than able to enjoying within the NHL and simply must develop offensively somewhat bit extra earlier than he’s prepared for an enormous function on this crew.

Kings Re-Enter the Playoff Image

After a robust month of December, the Kings are actually simply one level out of a wild card place, with 5 extra video games performed than the Colorado Avalanche and another performed than the Edmonton Oilers. Whereas the playoffs are nonetheless removed from a assure, they’ve a 47.1 % probability of constructing the postseason in line with and in the event that they sustain their play, and the Oilers proceed to slip, they’ve a great shot of sneaking in. I believe this roster would wish some bolstering on the deadline — particularly on protection — in the event that they’re critical about making the postseason, so watching basic supervisor Rob Blake’s strikes over the subsequent 12 weeks or so will probably be attention-grabbing.