Kings’ Kopitar Is Off to Sizzling Start to 2021-22

The 2021-22 NHL season has officially begun. After the first week of the season, the Los Angeles Kings have a record of 1-1-0 for a .500 win percentage. A key piece to this start has been LA’s captain, Anze Kopitar, who has started off the season with a bang and is currently sitting among the best in terms of offensive production throughout the entire league.

Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Through the Kings’ first two games and week one of the season, 34-year-old star center Kopitar has posted seven points, tying him with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the league.

Kopitar’s Fantastic Start to 2021-22

Los Angeles’s season opener was on Oct. 14, against the Vegas Golden Knights, where the Kings emerged victorious with a 6-2 win. Kopitar had a dominant performance, as he produced five points. He scored a hat trick, tallying a goal in every period of the game. Additionally, he dished out two assists, one of which was to Dustin Brown and the other was on a Drew Doughty power-play goal (PPG). Likewise, Kopitar himself notched a PPG, propelling the team’s power-play unit to a perfect 2/2 performance. Overall, the captain had a spectacular game and was firing on all cylinders, whether producing at even-strength or with the man advantage.

The Kings’ second game was on Saturday (Oct.16) against the Minnesota Wild. It was a tightly contested game, but at the end of the night, LA lost the game by a score of 3-2. Kopitar had another excellent performance, as he scored a goal and added an assist, meaning he contributed to all of the team’s goals.

Related: 3 Takeaways From Kings’ Loss Against Wild

Thus far, the Kings have scored eight goals in the 2021-22 season. Impressively, Kopitar has nabbed seven points, meaning he’s contributed a point on 88% of LA’s goals this season. Currently, his four goals are tied with Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings for the most in the NHL. However, Kopitar hasn’t just been lighting up the scoresheet, as he has maintained his elite two-way game, which is an asset that the two-time Selke Trophy winner is known for.

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

During the first two games of the 2021-22 season, Kopitar has thrown three hits, blocked one shot, posted a plus/minus of plus-3, and won 22 faceoffs (currently, he has a 55% faceoff win rate). Although his offensive brilliance was the main story of the week, he hasn’t sacrificed any of his defensive ability to have such a great start offensively.

Kopitar is No Stranger to Hot Starts

Last season, Kopitar scored one goal and dished out nine assists through the Kings’ first six games. As of Jan. 25, 2021, his 10 points were tied with Connor McDavid and Mitch Marner on the NHL’s leaderboard. Further, his nine assists ranked first.

Related: Kings’ Kopitar’s Red Hot Start to the 2020-21 Season

Overall, Kopitar is no stranger to beginning seasons with a high-flying offense, as he has done so in the past, including at the start of last season.

Kopitar Start to 2021-22 is Great for the Kings

Kopitar has been one of the Kings’ top contributors for over a decade now. In fact, since his debut season in 2006-07 through last season, he has been the team’s leading point producer in all but two seasons (2006-07 and 2016-17). Presently, he is 34-years-old. Age is often a worry for NHL players, as many players become less productive in their 30’s compared to their 20’s; however, Kopikar’s fantastic start to 2021-22 indicates he has no plans on slowing down anytime soon.

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