Anze Kopitar

Getty Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar

In a season of ups and downs for the Los Angeles Kings, the franchise from California saw one of their own write his name in golden letters in hockey’s record book. On the 6-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild that took place on March 20, Anze Kopitar became just the 52nd player in NHL history to score 1,200 points throughout his career.

Kopitar, the Kings captain and first-line center, recorded his 1,200th point with an assist and a goal during Wednesday’s shutout of the Wild. David Rittich got the start on the Kings net and blocked all 30 shots he faced, saving all of them and helping Los Angeles earn their 36th win of the season.

Although Kopitar was already one of only four players in franchise history to break the 1,000-point barrier, the Slovenian just became the second-ever Kings player to score at least 1,200 points for Los Angeles. Kopitar joined Marcel Dionne (1,307 points) in that select two-man club.

“Obviously, been amazing to play with him, to get to play with him and see him break all these records,” Kings left wing Trevor Moore, who assisted two of Los Angeles’ six goals, told reporters in his postgame press conference. “To be a small part of that and be able to have those memories is really cool.”

Anze Kopitar, 18 Seasons With the Kings Following 2007 Debut

Kopitar, 36 years old, became just the 52nd player in NHL history to reach 1,200 points by assisting Kevin Fiala‘s first-period goal against the Wild. Later in the game, already in the second period and a Kings power play, Kopitar scored a goal to make his tally 1,201 through 1,361 games played, overtaking Dino Ciccarelli‘s 1,200 career points.

The center has spent all of his 18 NHL seasons with the Kings after getting drafted 11th overall back in the 2005 draft by the franchise.

Kopitar hit the ice running appearing in 72 games once he crossed the pond from Europe heading into the 2007 season, scoring 20 goals and 41 assists (61 points) as a rookie and finishing with the fourth-most votes for the Calder Trophy award.

Anze Kopitar’s first period assist marked his 1,200th career NHL point. Kopitar joins Alex Ovechkin (1,537 w/ WSH), Stan Mikita (1,467 w/ CHI) and Evgeni Malkin (1,280 w/ PIT) as the fourth player born outside North America to collect 1,200 career points with one franchise (via…

According to the NHL, Kopitar became just the fourth player born outside of North America to collect 1,200 career points with a single franchise. Per Stathead, Kopitar also became the third player drafted in 2005 or later to reach 1,200 career points, only surpassed by Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby through Thursday, March 21.

Kopitar is also one of only seven players in that group to break the 1,000-point barrier so far throughout their respective careers.

Los Angeles Beat Western Conference rival, Wild-Card Threat Minnesota

By helping Los Angeles beat Minnesota on Wednesday, Kopitar kept the Kings firm in the race for a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth.

Through Thursday, March 21 slate of games, the Kings are the no. 3 team in the NHL Pacific Division with 83 points in 69 games played. They trail the Vancouver Canucks (96 points in 70 games) and the Edmonton Oilers (83 in 67) while sitting one position and two points above the Vegas Golden Knights (81 in 69).

Even if Los Angeles gets overtaken by Vegas at some point throughout the remainder of the regular season, odds are the Kings still make the playoffs.

According to MoneyPuck, Los Angeles has 96.7 percent odds of making the postseason at least as a Wild Card team. MoneyPuck gives Los Angeles 63.5% odds to finish third in the Pacific Division, 3.1% odds to finish as the no. 1 Wild Card team, and 24% odds of finishing in possession of the second Wild Card berth.

Coincidentally, Los Angeles’ rival on Wednesday was one of the teams they’re trying to beat in the race to make the postseason next month. The Wild are buried down the Central Division pecking order with just 76 points in 70 games, 23 points behind third-best Dallas.

The only way for the Wild to make the playoffs is by clinching one of the two wild-card berths, but losing to the Kings put another dent in their chances as they now trail Vegas by 5 points and the St. Louis Blues (77) by one entering Friday.

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