Dustin Brown will not accompany the Kings to Minnesota this afternoon and, most likely, will not play Tuesday. Teddy Purcell has been called up from Manchester and will be in the lineup against the Wild. Brown’s wife, Nicole, is close to delivering the couple’s second child. Brown is expected to join the Kings later in the road trip.
The Kings’ website did a recap of yesterday’s Tip-A-King event, and goalie Jonathan Quick shared some of his interactions with Kings fans…
“Two of the most frequent tips that I have been getting are ‘stop the puck’ and ‘win the Cup.’ I think I will take that advice,” Quick said.
No practice today — it’s Tip-A-King day down at L.A. Live — so, a question. Is it over? The Kings never quite charged into eighth place, but they got close, and now they’ve settled back into 12th. They’re four points behind eighth-place Edmonton (with one game in hand) and three teams are between them and the Oilers. The Kings are also two points ahead of last-place Colorado (with one game in hand) and two teams between them and the Avalanche.
So, with 24 games left, is it realistic to think the Kings can make the playoffs?
My instincts say no, but I’ve also never covered a Kings team as unpredictable as this one. Never would I have guessed that they would beat New Jersey and Washington on the road, then come back and lose to Atlanta and Phoenix at home. Quite simply, it’s a young team, and this is what young teams do. They look great one night and awful the next, sometimes literally.
Making the playoffs this season would be the Kings’ biggest accomplishment since 1993, but they’re going to need to play much better at home and they’re going to need some amazingly poised play from young defensemen and from rookie goalie Jonathan (“Please don’t shoot high”) Quick, because they’re about to face pressure like they’ve never seen before.
Statistically, it’s nowhere close to being over, but what do you think?
KINGS DEFENSEMAN KYLE QUINCEY:
(Re game recap): “We’re pretty disappointed with that and it was a huge two points we needed to get. We’re not quitting. We need to bounce back. We obviously like the road so we’re looking forward to that and hopefully we keep getting points every game.”
(Re: game recap) “I think they just out-waited us. They had more patience than we did and they capitalized on our mistakes. They were very good. They have good, young, skilled forwards and they showed it today where they cycled us well and around our net they were more hungry than we were.”
KINGS FORWARD JARRET STOLL:
(Re game recap): “Halfway through the game we were looking good, we just needed that third goal. We needed to push for that third goal. They tied it up and then they went ahead pretty quickly after that and took over the game. We just never had an answer for that and those are games that you’ve got to win.”
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY:
(Re game recap): “Well it certainly looks like we were not ready with managing the puck here today. The goals that happened are turnovers, giveaways, takeaways and it’s unfortunate because that was just a huge game for us. That’s one of those four-pointers that you must win to keep yourself in a good position.”
(Re lack of excitement and effort in the game): “My experience with that, when you’re in the later part of the season, the possibility of good things happening is just there. That’s just is something that everybody brings their own part of it to the room and to the ice, with hard play, heavy play, energy effort, it just comes from all over the place. It’s the environment that we’ve created for ourselves here, with getting close and having the opportunity.”
(Re: game recap) “We came out better, but still not good enough. We just couldn’t find it; we just didn’t have it. There is no excuse for it, you’ve got to have it this time of year and definitely looking at the standings, where we are, where they are, it’s a pretty important game.”
— The Kings are now 1-5-2 in their last eight home games and haven’t won a home game since Jan. 29 against Chicago. The Kings start a five-game road trip Tuesday in Minnesota.
— The Kings were outshot 33-29 and have been outshot 104-87 in their last three games.
— The Kings went 1-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. They gave up a late shorthanded goal, with their net empty.
— Jonathan Quick started in goal after giving way to G Erik Ersberg in Thursday’s loss to San Jose. Quick, who has been one of the top rookie goalies in the NHL this season, stopped 23 of 28 shots. The Kings had recorded 12 out of a possible 16 points in Quick’s previous eight starts.
— John Zeiler returned to the lineup, as part of the trickle-down from the two-game suspension handed to Denis Gauthier. Peter Harrold, who had been playing right wing of late, returned to defense and Zeiler returned to the lineup. The Kings had no healthy scratches in their lineup Saturday. Zeiler hadn’t played since Jan. 29. He played 7 minutes, 22 seconds and recorded four hits.
— Alexander Frolov scored a first-period goal. Frolov has scored goals in three of his last four games and four of his last seven games. Frolov has 25 goals and is on pace for 35, which would match the career high he scored in 2006-07. Frolov has already exceeded his goal total from last season (23). On the other hand, Frolov had a minus-4 rating Saturday.
— Matt Greene, Jack Johnson and Anze Kopitar had minus-3 ratings. Kyle Calder was plus-1.
— Anze Kopitar had an asist. Kopitar has three goals and four assists in his last four games.
— Patrick O’Sullivan had an assist. O’Sullivan has four assists in his last four games.
— Dustin Brown scored an unassisted goal in the second period. Brown has three goals and four assists in his last five games.
— Derek Armstrong scored a power-play goal in the final minute. Armstrong had not recorded a point in his previous 11 games.
— Jack Johnson and Dustin Brown tied for the team high with four shots on goal each. Jarret Stoll was credited with eight hits and the Kings were credited with 44 hits to Phoenix’s 31.
— Raitis Ivanans played his 200th NHL game.
— The Kings won 34 of 57 faceoffs (60 percent).
Unfortunately, I’ll be driving to the office during the early part of today’s game, but feel free to start commenting here. I’ll pull together the usual postgame quotes and notes and perhaps we’ll do a postgame chat as well, if it seems as though there’s a lot to discuss…
Officials: Mike Leggo, Brad Meier, Lyle Seitz, Don Henderson
Phoenix: Hale from Reinprecht and Lindstrom, 8:53
Kings: Frolov from Kopitar and O’Sullivan, 12:13
Kings: Brown, unassisted, 1:20
Phoenix: Jokinen from Sauer and Michalek, 12:34
Phoenix: Tikhonov from Hanzal, 13:25
Phoenix: Jokinen from Mueller, 18:36
Phoenix: Boedker from Tikhonov and Hanzal, 1:31
Phoenix: Jokinen, 17:55 (SH, Kings’ net empty)
Kings: Armstrong from Quincey and Simmonds, 18:58 (PP)
Denis Gauthier was suspended for two games without pay. Agree or disagree?
Here’s the release: