LOS ANGELES -- Justin Williams yawned in mid-answer.
He was talking Sunday about the pleasant bounce back from the Los Angeles Kings' trip, and the long flight home from Nashville at the end.
"That flight from Nashville always feels longer than it should be," he said. " ... Just making me yawn talking about it."
Not so long ago, the road was cruel to the Kings. They won a mere eight games on the road last season in the lockout-shortened season. They are already halfway there with four road wins and this season isn't quite yet three weeks old.
More so, they avoided the often flat response you see in the first game back home after a long trip, putting in a complete effort in a 5-2 win against Dallas on Saturday night. Williams had one goal going into the game, and by the end had added two more and an assist for his most-productive game of the season.
Could it be the start of a good push by the Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Williams line?
"I always hope so," Williams said. "Our line, we've been saying for four or five games now, 'Let's have a breakout night and let's do something.'
"Let's do what we're supposed to do -- score goals, create offense -- all that stuff. So we're obviously happy we were able to do that, hopefully jump-start and be more consistent."
Kopitar had a season-high three assists against Dallas and is doing everything exceptionally well ... except score. The centers on the Kings' roster have yet to score and Kopitar, who has eight points in nine games, is owning his share of the responsibility.
"He wants it and so do we," Williams said. "We want him to score too. We're a lot better team when he scores goals. But as I said, he's playing well. If he was playing poorly, it'd be a different story."
Williams, who turned 32 on Oct. 4, knows what Calgary Flames rookie center Sean Monahan is going through.
In 2000, Williams was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers (28th overall) and made the team that fall. In fact, he had a goal and two assists in his NHL debut with his family on hand, one day after his 19th birthday.
"My first game I scored three points and I thought this is a piece of cake," said Williams, smiling. "It's not always going to be that way and you need to realize that."
Monahan, drafted sixth overall in June, is off to a terrific start and the Kings will face him for the first time Monday night at Staples Center. He has eight points in seven games.
"You need to believe, 'I belong here,'" Williams said. "Have that confidence, swagger, cocky whatever you want to call it, and show it."
Unlike Monahan, Williams did not join a team deep in rebuild mode. The Flyers' captain that year was Eric Desjardins and Williams could rely on a long storied list of veterans for advice.
"I think coming in at 19, you took everything that came your way," he said. "There was Mark Recchi. Keith Primeau. Rick Tocchet. Eric Desjardins. There were so just many guys in that room I looked up to.
"You need that as a young player. You need someone to help you in every facet, on the ice, off the ice ... On becoming a professional because it just doesn't happen overnight."
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