A day after he made a critical error in the Kings’ loss to the Ducks, defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky was still walking around with his head hung low. Visnovsky tripped and fell down in the third period, which sparked a 2-on-1 break that led to Ryan Getzlaf’s game-tying goal. The Ducks went on to win 3-2.
“It was a bad night for me,” Visnovsky said. “We went in 2-on-2 and then I tried to jump and I kicked the ice and I go down. They go 2-on-1 and they score a goal.”
I’ve been around Visnovsky, on and off, since he broke in with the Kings, and it’s pretty clear that he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself. He no doubt feels the need to live up to the big contract extension he signed last summer, and he’s had a rough go of it so far. In 22 games, he has one goal and a minus-11 rating. Normally one of the most easy-going and light-hearted guys, Visnovsky isn’t smiling much these days.
“No more mistakes,” Visnovsky said as he shook his head slowly.
Just a couple quick notes, from the parking lot of the training facility…
— Distributed to the players today was a paper titled “Key Factors Late Game With Lead,” which detailed some of the factors that the coaches believe the players need to improve. Crawford was not happy that the papers were still sitting around by the time the media came in to the locker room, and he didn’t want to discuss the topic. I’m not sure how he thought we WEREN’T going to see them.
— Jaroslav Modry has gone back to the Czech Republic to visit his father, who is seriously ill. The Kings will give Modry as much time as he needs.
— In Modry’s absence, Klemm went back to defense and Nagy skated with Handzus and Moulson for most of the practice. Afterward, Crawford indicated that Nagy will be back in the lineup tomorrow.
I’ll have more updates later, as soon as I get someplace that has something better than a tenuous wireless connection!
2-1 lead midway through the third and they get no points out of it.
The Kings have been right with the Ducks in three games over the past two weeks but haven’t been able to pull them out at the end. Maybe that’s just the difference between a young team trying to learn how to win and a Stanley Cup champion that knows how to win.
“Getting out to a lead is great but then it seems like we’re just trying to hang on,” Michael Cammalleri said. “That’s not a successful way to play. We want to be a team that goes for the jugular. That’s why they’re a championship team. That’s the way we want to play.”
The Kings were outshot 23-13 after the first period. The Ducks dominated on faceoffs 38-21.
“They played harder in the third and they got the win again,” Rob Blake said. “I didn’t think we battled hard enough in the third to pull out the victory like we did last night.”
Crawford talked about the team needing more of an edge late in the game to pull out these wins.
“If we’re going to beat that team, we’ve got to make sure we get down in the dirt with them,” Crawford said. “We’ve got to make sure we finish checks and make sure we do the things that they do so effectively in order to play nasty against them.”
That was one of the reasons the Kings brought up the veteran Klemm. Here’s what Crawford had to say on him: “We knew we needed a bigger body in the lineup. Jon really helps us killing penalties. I thought he did a great job on the penalty kill tonight. He’s good on being physical, finishing checks. I thought he played very well for us.”
On benching Nagy, Crawford said: “He has to be better than he has been. We could have taken out a couple of other guys but he drew the short straw tonight.”
The Kings practice tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. then again on Tuesday before playing another game in San Jose on Wednesday.
No penalties for the Kings in the second but they only got one power play. Each team had a breakaway chance fail midway through the period. The Kings were outshot 15-8.
2-0 Kings after one. After killing three penalties to keep it scoreless, the Kings scored when Cammalleri skated down the ice and fed Calder in front for a one-timer with 5:01 left in the period. Then Dustin Brown added his 10th goal of the season on the power play, knocking through the rebound of a Blake slap shot on his second attempt with 29.2 seconds to go. Ivanans is playing physical despite his fractured cheekbone. He got a boarding call early in the game when he checked Kent Huskins. Ivanans and Pronger would definitely be going at it tonight if not for the injury.
Nagy is a healthy scratch. Klemm is playing at forward.
Here are the offensive lines …
Jon Klemm called up from Manchester. Hmmm, this doesn’t help with their forward injuries because he’s a defenseman. It’s not bringing one of the team’s bright prospects up since he’s 37. Perhaps it’s to add some toughness to the team? Klemm was one of Dean’s offseason acquisitions. He was on the 96 and 2001 Stanley Cup-winning Avalanche teams.
Kyle Calder and Raitis Ivanans have been activated and will play tonight. Scott Thornton is on the injured list with a “bruised sternum.” Remember also that Alexander Frolov is out tonight with a strained groin.
Crawford said Calder would be a game-time decision but that he was “very optimistic” about Ivanans playing. “They looked good today,” Crawford said. “If they look like that tomorrow, there’s a very good chance they will play.”
Calder said he would wear a cast under the glove of his left hand to protect the broken thumb. He wasn’t wearing a cast sitting at his locker after practice so I could see that the thumb kind of looks like Frankenstein’s head with the stitches. It’s also still swollen about 50 percent more than its usual size.
“There’s some limitations in what I can and can’t do with the way I shoot and a couple things like that, so I’ll have to figure out how to work around it,” Calder said.
Frolov pulled his right groin when he stepped on a puck during the third period of the second game against the Ducks last Thursday. Over the past week, he played in games but did not practice. By taking practice off, he would feel better at the beginning of games but as the games wore on his groin would bother him more and more.
His left groin had bothered him entering the season.
“I probably played one or two games completely healthy and then I step on the puck and it happens with the other leg,” Frolov said. “It’s always bad when you have to miss games with an injury. I don’t like it. That’s why I tried to keep playing. But I think it’s sometimes better to take a few games off and get back in the lineup healthy.”
Frolov doesn’t think this injury is as bad as the last one, which he said felt much deeper. Crawford talked about giving Frolov seven to 10 days off, meaning he could come back Wednesday at San Jose or next Saturday against Colorado.