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Doughty finding his legs in Los Angeles

Teammate Drew Doughty #8 celebrates with

Teammate Drew Doughty #8 celebrates with Los Angeles Kings’s Jack Johnson #3 as he scores the game winning goal during overtime as they play against New York Rangers at their ice hockey NHL season opener game at the Globe Arena on October 7, 2011 in Stockholm. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Is Drew Doughty heating up? With a goal and two assists in his last two games, the Kings are hoping his early-season slump was just a blip on the way to a big year and a Hall of Fame career.

Los Angeles hosts Vancouver tonight with Doughty looking to build on his recent play.

“I’m getting my legs under me,” he said yesterday, as per the Vancouver Province. “I’m starting to play a few more minutes again. Once I’m playing a lot of minutes I’m into the game and I play my best.”

Doughty missed training camp while negotiating an eight-year, $56-million contract. It’s a huge deal for a 21-year-old, and it comes with huge expectations -- whether he’s affected by those expectations or not.

“That deal doesn’t bring any added pressure to me,” he said. “It’s in the past now and I’ve just got to forget about it.”

But it won’t be so easy to forget if he doesn’t live up to it. This is a big season for the Kings, who still haven’t been past the first round since 2001. The money has been spent by ownership. The “young team with no playoff experience” excuse has expired. It’s time to play like the contender they are on paper.