More needed from O’Sullivan

Patrick O’Sullivan had one goal and two assists in the two games before the all-star break, but as you’ll read below, Terry Murray can recall from memory that O’Sullivan has only three goals in his last 24 games. He will get quality minutes tonight, playing alongside Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov, and here’s what Murray said about the need for more offense from O’Sullivan…

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Question: Safe to say that you’d like to see more scoring from O’Sullivan?

MURRAY: “Oh yeah. Sully is a skilled player, a scorer. He has three goals in his last 24 games, I think. He got a goal in Minnesota, which was his first one in about a dozen (games). Clearly he knows that, and it’s really important that our top players make plays. It’s just that time of the year. They have to step up, in the offensive part as well as playing without the puck. That’s critical, if we’re going to move forward as a solid team in the future. Not even in the next game, but as we move through this as a group, that’s the type of play we need. Everyone has to perform, with the puck and away from the puck. I’m hoping that I see, as we get started again here tonight, what Sully was showing in the last couple games. He was on the puck, he was handling it and looking to make plays and he showed more of a committment to the `battle’ part of the game, to get pucks back. That’s what we’re going to have to have, everyone buying in and doing the right stuff.”

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Maintaining the momentum?

Terry Murray talked today about trying to sustain the momentum built before the all-star break…

Question: Dustin Brown talked about how those three games before the break were so important to the season. Since you got five points in those six games, where does that leave you heading into the second half?

MURRAY: “We’re kind of in the same scenario. The must-wins are there. Every game we play has to be approached as though it’s a playoff-type game. When you have that type of a desparation, you figure it out and you just go and play the right way, and play with structure and play incredibly hard. Or sometimes you’re afraid to meet the challenge. I think that what I saw in those three games was, we stood up and did a great job with team play. That’s the kind of carry-over that we need after this break here, to follow up with the same effort every night. I think the players understand that. They’re talking about it. We have talked about it individually and we have talked about it as a group. Right now, the attitude toward the last 36 games is really good, so we’ll see how it goes.”

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Murray likes Calder-Stoll-Brown

Terry Murray was asked this morning about how the Kings could maintain their offensive success from the two games before the all-star break, when they scored 11 goals in six periods. Murray used the opportunity to praise the Kings’ line of Dustin Brown, Kyle Calder and Jarret Stoll, which he found to be particularly effective of late…

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Question: You had 11 goals in those two games before the break. Have you been able to determine what changed in those games?

MURRAY: “I’ve been trying to look at that myself. I watched the games over, during the all-star break, and there just seemed to be some chemistry with the Stoll line. It was like that… If you go back a month or so ago, I had that line together and it worked pretty well. We got away from it, but there’s something happening there. They’re reading off each other and they’re feeling good about playing with each other. Those are three guys that play the net, play the boards and cycle well, and there are just good things happening. That doesn’t really answer your question, but chemistry is an intangible that’s nice to have.”

Question: You have to be pleased with 11 goals in those two games against two pretty strong teams…

MURRAY: “Yeah. When I looked at it, even before we got to training camp and when we broke training camp, I looked at our lines and felt good about our possibilities for scoring. When we haven’t been producing offensively, we’ve had a big push on the other side of the puck. It takes time to make that kind of adjustment as a team and as a player, but I hope now that it’s starting to come together for us.”

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Morning skate update

– Jonathan Quick will start in goal. Erik Ersberg is “99 percent,” according to Terry Murray, and I can finally confirm that his issue was with his knee.

– Brad Richardson will be back in the lineup tonight, with Gauthier and Preissing as the healthy scratches.

Here’s how the forwards will skate:

Frolov-Kopitar-O’Sullivan
Calder-Stoll-Brown
Richardson-Handzus-Simmonds
Ivanans-Armstrong-Zeiler

I’ll be posting some quotes on this stuff in a bit…

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