EL SEGUNDO — Drew Doughty’s anger was apparent Wednesday night.
Less obvious while the snarling Kings defenseman was slinging animated barbs at Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk with the two locked in opposite penalty boxes during the Kings’ overtime loss was that, well, Doughty likes being angry.
Calgary isn’t the only team that targets the Kings’ franchise defenseman, but Doughty acknowledged they got under his skin during the Flames’ 4-3 overtime win Wednesday night.
“I think they feel like they get under my skin and it takes away from our team’s game,” Doughty said after Thursday’s practice. “When they get under my skin like that it just makes me more hungry and want to play better. I like playing pissed off.”
The genesis of the heated atmosphere that enveloped Staples Center on Wednesday came when Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk delivered a vicious elbow to Doughty in the team’s first meeting last season.
Wednesday morning, Doughty plainly stated that Tkachuk, the second-year player who scored half of the Flames’ goals that evening, “is nothing to me.”
That didn’t appear to be the case when the two took the ice together in a key Pacific Division matchup. But the bad blood doesn’t bother Doughty. He thrives off of it.
“It’s a fun part of hockey,” Doughty said. “Not liking other guys on the other team and them not liking you back, it’s one of the reasons I play the game. I love that stuff.”
There were several skirmishes during the third period on Wednesday, including one during which Tkachuk knocked off the mask of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick late in the game.
The antics earned Tkachuk a roughing penalty and landed him in the penalty box, where Doughty delivered him a few choice words he chose not to reveal to the media.
The question looming the day after the Kings’ first loss of the season: Does the high level of emotion help or hurt the team’s chances to win?
“We’ve kind of got to figure that out,” Doughty…