Game-day skates are optional for the Kings, and their top six forwards and top four defensemen usually opt out in order to preserve their energy.

But on Saturday morning at the Kings' practice rink in El Segundo, as for just about every game-day skate, center Anze Kopitar joined the youngsters and spare players for about a half-hour's worth of skating, shooting and passing.

He didn't need the work: through Friday his ice time ranked second among NHL forwards at 22 minutes and 43 seconds per game. But Kopitar is reluctant to change a good routine and it's easy to understand why, given that he had at least one point in each of the Kings' first six games and 10 points overall. He was tied for second in the NHL scoring race before the Kings faced the Dallas Stars on Saturday at Staples Center.

Coach Terry Murray has urged him to skip optional sessions but Kopitar believes it helps him to lace up his skates and take a twirl on the ice.

"This is almost my wake-up call in the mornings for me. This is where I come in and put a little sweat on, just a little blood flow, I guess," he said.

"It's a little better. I can eat a little easier. You're not as full. And you go home and you sleep a little better. I just want to do it. It's been working for me."

Knowing what's best for him is part of his evolution from a scorer to a two-way player and up to the level of a potential 100-point scorer and scoring title contender.