Kings' Iafallo has a great first game in Buffalo

February 17, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Eden’s own Alex Iafallo got to play his first NHL game in front of friends and family as the Kings were in town.

In his rookie season, Iafallo has six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 56 games.

Iafallo signed with the Kings last April after spending four seasons at Minnesota-Duluth. In his senior season he played 42 games and had 52 points.

Saturday wasn’t his first game against his hometown Sabres as he was in the lineup for the October game in Los Angeles.

Iafallo has worked his way up the Kings lineup and is now playing with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.

Coming in, Iafallo didn’t have points in his last three games, but before that, he posted four goals and five assists for nine points in 13 games.

Iafallo probably was nervous and played a simple first period. On his first shift he calmly skated the puck out of the zone and got it to safety. He did the same thing later in the period.

Overall he played 6:12 in the first 20 minutes with one hit.

The reason Iafallo and his teammates had such an easy job getting the puck out of the zone is because the Sabres gave no resistance. It was a very easy period for the bigger Kings. They used their size to win almost every battle forcing Robin Lehner into 18 saves.

Lehner did give up a bad one, but he also made some great saves to keep them into it.

In the second period, Iafallo outworked two Sabres along the wall and then forced Jacob Josefson into a turnover. Iafallo got the puck to Brown who got a good chance at the net. Iafallo didn’t just sit and admire his work, he went hard to the net and tried to dig the puck away from Lehner to try to score. There was more effort in that one play, than any Sabre showed in the first 40 minutes of the game.

More than midway through the game the Sabres had just 13 shots and just one scoring chance. It came when Nate Beaulieu grazed the crossbar.

The Kings made it 2-0 when Iafallo was out near the blue line with Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot turned it over and Anze Kopitar made them pay.

Iafallo was directly responsible for the Kings third goal, he went in behind the net totally unchallenged and found Kopitar in the left circle who easily scored his second of the game. Iafallo got a good cheer when he was announced for the assist.

Iafallo really came out skating in the second period and it showed. It really wasn’t that hard because the Sabres showed no resistance at all through 40 minutes.

Through 40 minutes the hometown boy had 10:53 of ice-time with two shots and a plus-two.

Probably the only minus I saw in his game came in the third period when the Kings sent a pass from behind the net up the wall to him. Iafallo seemed to get timid with the play and allowed Casey Nelson to keep it in a blow right buy him. Buffalo did get a scoring opportunity out of it.

Buffalo did score its first goal of the game just 30 seconds into the third period and Iafallo was on the ice for that, but didn't factor into the play.

Kings coach John Stevens has complete confidence in Iafallo as he was out there in the key situation of a 6-on-5 when the Sabres goaltender was pulled.

On the afternoon Iafallo played 16:45 with two shots on goal and a plus-one. He was credited with two hits.

There were many Kings that played well, but if I was picking the three stars, I would've been tempted to pick Iafallo as the third star.