Kings right wing Marian Gaborik returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his right knee Feb. 12. Here’s some of what he said about his return and the Kings’ 2-1 loss Saturday to the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of their first-round series: “I felt pretty good. I’ll need to get better and better. We have to be better overall. Each of us need to take our games to the next level.”
Gaborik also said of the Kings’ lackluster play in Game 2, “We’re beating ourselves out there. We have to correct a lot of things. We didn’t generate a whole lot of scoring chances. We have to have (Martin) Jones work way more than he’s been working. We had a pretty good surge at the end there, but it was too late. We have to regroup, go to San Jose and come back with a tied series.”
Key play: Logan Couture’s power-play goal proved to be the difference for the San Jose Sharks in a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Kings in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center. Couture’s second-period putback of Joe Pavelski’s initial try propelled the Sharks to a 2-0 series lead.
Pivotal performer: Pavelski gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead only 3:37 in the game, his third goal in two contests in the best-of-7 series. He also assisted on Couture’s game-winning goal to give him a series-leading four points. He had three shots on goal and won seven of eight faceoffs.
Quote, unquote: “We’ve got to do a better job of getting traffic and getting guys to the net, fighting through box-outs and getting those second- and third-chance opportunities,” Kings left wing Lucic said. “Right now, we’re not doing a good enough job of it. We need to figure it out quick if we want to turn things around. We’ve got to stop playing with frustration and start playing with determination.”
Welcome back: Right wing Marian Gaborik returned to the Kings’ lineup for the first time since spraining his right knee Feb. 12. He was scoreless on four shots on goal in 14:32, playing with a variety of linemates as Kings coach Darryl Sutter mixed and matched his combinations.
Injury update: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez did not play after he was forced from Game 1 after two periods because of an undisclosed injury. Martinez sat out the final four regular-season games because an unspecified injury. His status for Game 3 is unknown. Jamie McBain took Martinez’s spot in the lineup.
Right wing Marian Gaborik was back in the Kings’ lineup Saturday for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Defenseman Alec Martinez was out of the lineup after an abbreviated return to it Thursday for Game 1.
Or so it seemed.
Gaborik skated on a line with center Anze Kopitar and left wing Milan Lucic during the Kings’ morning stake at Staples Center. Kings coach Darryl Sutter later said Gaborik’s first game since spraining his right knee Feb. 12 against the New York Rangers would be a coach’s decision at game time.
“He’ll go through warmup and he’ll declare himself,” Sutter said of Gaborik, who had 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games when he was injured in the game at Madison Square Garden. “He’s been medically cleared, so it becomes a coach’s decision.”
Gaborik was not immediately available for comment.
Martinez, who has an unspecified injury, didn’t skate with his teammates and there was no locker stall set up for him inside the Kings’ dressing room. It appeared Jamie McBain would take his place and make his playoff debut after playing 345 regular-season games in the NHL.
“It’s still the same game,” McBain said, who yielded to Martinez for Game 1 after filling in for him for the final four games of the regular season. “There might be a little bit more physicality, but at the end of the day, it’s still the same game.”
Here’s some of what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said when asked Tuesday about the availability of injured right wing Marian Gaborik for the Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday: “Unavailable.”
When a reporter wondered if that meant unavailable for just Game 1 or the whole series or what, Sutter said, “I’m not God. I’m not a doctor.”
Sutter went on to say, “You’re not getting any information from us. Basically, what happens with the media, and I put up with it all season, but I’m not doing it in playoffs. I have no desire to give you any information on the stitches anybody got or what’s wrong with them or ‘how long he’s going to be’ or his wife’s in labor.
The Kings recalled forward Michael Mersch from the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League in advance of Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators. The Kings were already without winger Marian Gaborik, who could be sidelined for the rest of the regular season because of a knee injury, but then center Anze Kopitar was forced from a 2-1 overtime loss Thursday to the St. Louis Blues because of a lower-body injury. Kopitar played only in the first period.
Kopitar’s status was termed day to day, but Saturday isn’t expected to be his day.
The 23-year-old Mersch had one goal and three points in 15 games with the Kings earlier this season..He also had 19 goals and 28 points in 34 games with the Reign before he was recalled. He led the team in goals and was 10th in the league. He also had a plus-6 defensive rating and 22 penalty minutes.
The Kings placed winger Marian Gaborik on injured reserve Saturday after he suffered what the team called a lower-body injury during a 5-4 overtime victory Friday over the Rangers in New York.
Gaborik was hurt during a first-period collision with the Rangers’ Dominic Moore and needed help getting to the dressing room with what appeared to be a left leg injury.
There is no timetable for his return to the lineup. The Kings on Saturday sent him back to Los Angeles to be examined further.
Gaborik, who turns 34 on Sunday, had 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games this season. He has 386 goals and 773 points in 933 career games in the NHL with the Kings, Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Kings didn’t announce a corresponding roster move to fill Gaborik’s spot on the roster for Sunday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. It’s possible they could recall forward Michael Mersch from the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.
Key play: Dwight King played give-and-go with Marian Gaborik and then scored a first-period goal that propelled the Kings to a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Philadelphia Flyers at Staples Center. King’s goal was his second in his third game since returning to the lineup from a broken foot.
Pivotal performer: Jonathan Quick made 29 saves, stopping all but Brayden Schenn’s power-play goal in the third period. He continues to seek the 41st shutout of his NHL career, which would move him past John Vanbiesbrouck and Frank Brimsek for the most by an American-born goaltender.
Gone streaking: The Kings’ victory was their fifth in a row, all with Quick in goal. Quick has a 1.40 goals-against average, a .954 save percentage and one shutout during the streak. Quick is expected to start Monday against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.
Quote, unquote: “It feels good winning,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “When we come to the rink on a winning streak, everything is just so much more fun and we want to continue feeling that way. We don’t want to come to the rink unhappy, so I figure why not just keep winning?”
Milestone moment: Defenseman Jake Muzzin’s assist on Doughty’s power-play goal in the second period was his 100th point in his 246th game in the NHL. It also was his 18th point of 2015-16. He has four goals and 14 assists with a plus-7 defensive rating in 38 games.
Injury update: Kings center Jeff Carter sat out for the fourth consecutive game because of an upper-body injury suffered during the first period of a 4-3 overtime victory Dec. 26 over the Arizona Coyotes. Carter has been skating, but isn’t sound enough to play.
Here’s some of what Kings winger Marian Gaborik had to say after scoring the tying and winning goals in a 3-2 overtime victory Saturday over the Chicago Blackhawks: “We never thought we weren’t going to win. It’s the atmosphere here and the attitude. We knew we could come back and we sustained a lot of pressure in their zone, like I said, as the game went on and we were able to capitalize.
“Like I said, we never quit. We had a lot of chances as the game went on and so towards the end, we were pushing ourselves and created a lot of traffic. We sustained some forecheck and some pressure in their zone and that was the mood, just keep going, keep going, keep going and trying to tie it up.”
Key play: Marian Gaborik scored on a breakaway 2:04 into overtime to give the Kings a 3-2 victory Saturday over the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center, capping a rally from a two-goal deficit after two periods. The Blackhawks lost for the first time in 43 games after leading after 40 minutes, dating to the Kings’ OT victory over Chicago in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in 2014.
Pivotal performers: Gaborik’s tying goal with 5:55 left in the third period was set up by Anze Kopitar’s blind backhand pass to his trailing Kings teammate. Kopitar swiped the puck from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook a moment earlier.
Quote, unquote: “We didn’t panic,” Kings defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. “We stuck to our game plan and we just kept pushing in the third period and finally we got rewarded on (Jeff Carter’s) goal and we kept going forward. We got the tying goal and in overtime, obviously, there were a lot of chances going both ways, and we got the better of it at the end.”
Milestone moment: Chicago right wing Patrick Kane’s first-period power-play goal extended his point streak to 19 consecutive games, the longest by an American-born player in NHL history. Kane had been tied with Ed Olczyk and Phil Kessel with an 18-game streak.
News bulletin: The Kings submitted a bid to host the 2017 All-Star game at Staples Center, a team spokesman said. It would mark the 50th anniversary of the Kings, and also the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. The game also was held at Staples Center in 2002.