The last time we checked in on the Los Angeles Kings that have been representing their homeland at the 2015 IIHF World Championships, two nations and four Kings were trending up. While the other two nations and two Kings were trending down.
Now that the preliminary round is over and we know who will be advancing to the quarterfinals let’s check in on the Kings that are getting a little more hockey in Across the Pond.
1. Team Canada
There is no doubt that the Canadians are the cream of the crop at this year’s national tournament. The Canadians finished atop Group A having won all seven of their games in regulation and grabbing a plus-35 goal differential in the process. They put a bow on their preliminary round play with a 10-1 rout of Austria on Tuesday.
Three Kings traveled to Prague to represent Canada. Tyler Toffoli and Jake Muzzin have both played in all seven games for Canada while Martin Jones was between the pipes for two games. Toffoli has grabbed two goals and five points while Muzzin has notched five helpers. Both Muzzin and Toffoli are tied for the tournament lead in plus/minus with a plus nine rating. In Jones’ two starts he has gone 2-0-0-0 and has grabbed a 1.50 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
Canada will take on Belarus in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
2. Team USA
The Americans are the only other team with some Kings flavor advancing to the next round. Despite being upset by Belarus during preliminary play, the Americans finished in first place in Group B thanks to a 5-4 overtime victory against Slovakia on Tuesday. The Americans finished the opening round with a 5-1-0-1 record.
Trevor Lewis is the lone King on the Americans’ roster and has been a constant contributor on the ice. Lewis has recorded two goals and six assists in seven games for the Americans, and leads the team in assists. Lewis was a major factor in the United States’ overtime win against Slovakia, setting a screen in front of the Slovakian goalie as Jack Eichel got the game winner.
Jack Eichel's winning goal. Quality puck protection. pic.twitter.com/MGGrEkaW0E
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) May 12, 2015
The United States will face Switzerland in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
3. Team Slovakia
The Slovakians likely did not have the tournament they had hoped for. After losing to Lewis and the Americans in overtime, Slovakia finished the preliminary round with a 1-2-2-2 record. Slovakia’s only regulation win came against Slovenia.
Although Slovakia did not advance, the Kings’ Marian Gaborik had a commendable tournament. Gaborik led the team with four goals and was tied for the most points on the team with six.
4. Team Slovenia
It was a tournament to forget for the Slovenians. The Slovenians finished the preliminary round with the tournament’s worst record and have been relegated to Division I as a result. Anze Kopitar finished the tournament with just one goal and four points in seven games. Kopitar led the Slovenians with four points and was tied for the team lead with three assists.
Anze wasn’t the only Kopitar to have a forgettable tournament. Matjaz, Kopitar’s father, decided to step down as Slovenia’s head coach at the conclusion of this year’s tournament. Kopitar’s father coached Slovenia for the past five years.
Slovenia will once again have to play to be promoted in 2016.
An interesting side note on Kopitar, he has apparently found his shoulder pads.
— Toni (@ToniLeinonen22) May 6, 2015
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.