Kopitar relishes chemistry with Kings team mate Gaborik
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Recent acquisition Marian Gaborik has played a big role in helping the Los Angeles Kings reach the Stanley Cup Finals and his team mate, center Anze Kopitar, is delighted by the chemistry the duo already share.
Slovak right wing Gaborik, picked up by the Kings from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline three months ago, has scored a team-high 12 goals for Los Angeles during the playoffs while Kopitar heads the points standings with 24.
"It seems like it was pretty quick," Slovenian Kopitar, 26, told reporters at Staples Center on Tuesday about how swiftly he and three-time All-Star Gaborik had developed an understanding on the ice for the Kings.
"But I played against Marion quite a bit in my seven years here and it's really not hard to figure out what his strengths are and what kind of damage he can do. So you take on that and just get ready as quick as you can.
"We both like to play a give-and-go game and with his speed it definitely drafts some of the defensemen off a little bit which gives me a few extra feet on the ice to operate with, and I will always take that."
With Kopitar and Gaborik leading the way on offense for the Kings, the Los Angeles team will launch their bid for a second Stanley Cup title in three years when they face the New York Rangers on Wednesday in Game One of a best-of-seven series.
The Kings, who were the league's top defensive team during the regular season, will start out as favorites against the Rangers but Kopitar knows full well the danger of being complacent with hockey's Holy Grail on the line.