Kings News & Rumors: Kaliyev, Quick, & Clinching Scenarios

In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, I’ll be discussing Arthur Kaliyev’s fine, Jonathan Quick being named one of the NHL’s three stars of the week, and the King’s route to the playoffs.

Arthur Kaliyev Fined

On Sunday, it was announced that rookie forward, Kaliyev, would be fined $2,235.42, the maximum amount allowed under the collective-bargaining agreement, for his cross-check to the back of Anaheim Duck’s forward Josh Mahura in Saturday’s game. First things first, this is a well-deserved fine and he’s probably lucky he didn’t face more supplemental discipline. Anytime you cross-check someone in the back of the head like that you’re opening yourself up to a call from the Department of Player Safety (DoPS) and Kaliyev will have to pay for making that play. With that out of the way, I’ve really got no problem with him making that play, of course, I never want to condone cheap shots or plays like that, but I’m happy to see Kaliyev stand up for himself.

Arthur Kaliyev Los Angeles Kings
Arthur Kaliyev, Los Angeles Kings (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

I’ve said many times before that the most impressive aspect of his game this season has been his commitment to improving on the areas that were labeled as issues in his draft year. Scouts said he was poor defensively, and he’s put up elite defensive analytics this season, scouts said he can’t forecheck, and he’s been one of the most efficient forecheckers on the team. One of the areas where he still seemed to struggle was physicality, specifically his willingness to engage physically, it was flagged as an issue when he was drafted and while I wouldn’t say it’s been an issue this season, it’s been noticeable. Still just 20-years-old, I’ve got no problem with him not being the most physical player, but he’s gotten thrown around at times with no real answer. That changed on Saturday, he and Mahura got engaged physically and Mahura threw a cheap shot of his own, so Kaliyev retaliated.

He will see the Ducks several times throughout his career, so this is a nice message that they can’t bully him, if you’re going to give him a shot, expect one back. Bullying Kaliyev has seemed like a tactic teams have used to knock him off his game this season, and it’s nice to see he’s starting to respond. He’s a big kid in his own right and doesn’t need to back down from physical altercations. Again, he shouldn’t make a habit out of cheap shots, as the team is better with him on the ice as opposed to in the penalty box or suspended, but in a situation like Saturday, at the end of a game that is already won, it was a great time to send a message.

Related: Kings Face Difficult Decisions On Vilardi’s Future

I’m also a little confused as to why Mahura didn’t receive any discipline as well, his cross-check to Kaliyev’s face seemed just as dangerous and worthy of a fine. Maybe I’m looking at it through a biased lens, but if Kaliyev was fined I think Mahura should have been too. Regardless, Kaliyev leaves Saturday down $2,235.42, but players might think twice before trying to bully him, which could be well worth the fine.

Quick Named NHL’s Third Star

On Monday, it was announced that Quick was named the NHL’s third star of the week. He went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .940 save percentage (SV%). Quick let in just three goals in the three games and came up big when his team needed him. He did let in a comically bad goal against the Ducks, whiffing on a clearing attempt as the puck took a bounce just before it hit his stick. Still, he made more than enough spectacular saves to make up for the mistake.

Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In an article last week, I discussed how Quick was getting hot at the perfect time, and it appears the team is taking notice as well. If he can carry over this momentum into the playoffs, it gives the Kings a far better chance of beating the Edmonton Oilers. Goaltending has been an issue for the Oilers all season and if the Kings can win the battle in net, they’ve got a lot of hope. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Quick steal a series in his career either. Even a year ago there were calls for Petersen to take the net from Quick, but the veteran goalie is showing why it’s so hard to take his starting position.

Kings Can Clinch a Playoff Spot Tuesday

The Kings have gotten four wins in their last four games and have put themselves in a great spot to clinch their first playoff berth since 2018. If the Vegas Golden Knights lose in any way to the Dallas Stars Tuesday night, the Kings will officially clinch a playoff spot.

If the Knights secure a win against the Stars on Tuesday, the Kings can still punch their ticked into the postseason Wednesday night by defeating the Seattle Kraken. While it’s never good to count your chickens before they hatch, it’s safe for the Kings to start looking towards a game 83 at this point. They’ve battled hard all season, dealing with several injuries to key players, and they will have fully earned a playoff appearance. Coach Todd McLellan has seemingly found line combinations that work, as the team is red hot heading into the final two games of the season.

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