|KEVIN GRAVEL, Kings|
|FIRST NHL GOAL|
The Kings are notorious or celebrated (depending on your point of view) from keeping their roster hard to crack for rookies and they alter it only when immediately pressed to do so with a trade or signing. Coach Darryl Sutter’s disciplined style of play demands as much.
So when someone new scores for the Kings it’s actually a pretty big deal. And for Kevin Gravel, it was an especially big deal since he’d been waiting 44 NHL games for this moment.
The Los Angeles defenseman was out on a power play against the Bruins when he snuck down from the point just as teammate Tyler Toffoli was skating back to the bench after breaking his stick. The kind of split-second decision which might leave you in hot water and then a trip to coach Sutter’s chateau bow wow.
Gravel, who clearly showed some unease about leaving his side of the ice unoccupied, quickly benefited from a quick mood-changer that will stay with him the rest of his life when Nick Dowd’s shot from the middle of the left circle was kicked out by Boston goaltender Anton Khodobin. Adrian Kempe — himself in only his fifth NHL game — picked it up and showed great poise and ice awareness as he slipped the puck through the legs of Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller.
Gravel’s stick was ready for it and he put the puck in a mostly unoccupied net from the lower right circle.
The Kings rookie defenseman was a little measured in his reaction, but exuded a literally wide-eyed moment in the aftermath. He was also quick to point to Kempe for his excellent work in setting up the goal. His journey down fist-bump row was Kings-like. Which is to say, they acted like he’d done it before.
|2/23/2017 vs. Boston.
Highlight available at NHL.com.