Kings 4, Sharks 0.

The Kings did not so much as steal a win Saturday, as they did dominate in such a fashion that makes you wonder why they can’t win every night.

After converting their first two power plays of the game –amazing what that can do for a team –the Kings were able to do what they do best: Play conservative, defensive hockey and give Jonathan Quick a fairly easy path to a 34-save shutout.

Drew Doughty was the offensive catalyst, scoring two goals and assisting on the other two, and tying a franchise record for most points in a playoff game by a defenseman. Paul Coffey was the first Kings defenseman with four points in a playoff game.

“It was a very big win coming into this building in game 2,” Kings head coach Terry Murray said. “We were a little short with key players out of the line-up. That requires a really competitive attitude by everyone that’s playing. Guys have to really dig in and play hard for each other and I think that’s the competitive spirit that our team has shown many, many times over the last few years.”

With Jarret Stoll serving a one-game suspension for his Game 1 hit on Ian White (who was replaced in the Sharks’ lineup by Niclas Wallin), Oscar Moller and Trevor Lewis were the primary beneficiaries of the minutes at center. Moller played 10:37, finishing plus-1, while Lewis played 17 minutes.

Kyle Clifford and Jack Johnson each had a goal and an assist for the KIngs, who were outshot 34-23.

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Reports: One-game suspension for Stoll.

According to multiple reports, Kings center Jarret Stoll will be suspended one game by the NHL for this hit on San Jose Sharks defenseman Ian White in the first period of Game 1 on Thursday:

The Kings, of course, are already playing without top center Anze Kopitar. Oscar Moller is the only spare player on the current roster with experience at center, though he’s been used as a winger since his last recall from Manchester. Speculation will turn to the AHL again, where centers Cory Elkins and John Zeiler have some NHL experience, and Justin Azevedo and Tyler Toffoli are also available.

But none of those names will entice as much speculation as prospect Brayden Schenn, who was assigned to Manchester by the Kings after his junior club, the Saskatoon Blades, was eliminated from the Western Hockey League playoffs Wednesday.

Schenn, 19, was the Kings’ first-round draft pick (fifth overall) in 2009. He appeared in eight games for the Kings in October, collecting no goals and two assists, before eventually being re-assigned to juniors. Schenn had 57 points (22 goals, 35 assists) in only 29 games for the Blades and Brandon Wheat Kings this season. In between, he was named Tournament MVP for silver-medal-winning Canada at the World Junior Championships in January.

In March, The Hockey News named Schenn the number one overall prospect in hockey.

Schenn played both a top-six and bottom-six role at times during his brief NHL stint this season. Though he — or any of the Monarchs’ centers, if the Kings choose to go that route — could supplant Stoll between Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown, one of those players could also slide back in to a fourth-line role Game 2 on Saturday in San Jose, with Trevor Lewis moving up in the lineup.

Update: As first reported by TSN, the Kings will recall Zeiler from Manchester.

Update two: According to multiple reports, the Kings will not recall Zeiler, or anyone, from Manchester.

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San Jose 3, Kings 2, OT.

Joe Pavelski’s goal at 14:44 of overtime ended an impressive upset bid by the Kings in Game 1 in San Jose. There will be more chances to steal wins from the Sharks -but will this be the best?

Down 1-0 on the scoreboard and outshot 18-3, the Kings bounced back after a sluggish start to neutralize the speedy, physical Sharks. Dany Heatley scored on a goal-front tap-in 28 seconds into the game, but Dustin Brown got the next goal off a breakaway pass from Justin Williams at 7:25 of the second period.

Logan Couture snuck a shot through the pads of Jonathan Quick (42 saves) less than three minutes later, at the 10:23 mark, but Williams wasn’t done. One day after declaring his separated right shoulder healthy enough for action, the veteran right wing beat Antti Niemi (33 saves) from behind the net to tie the game at 2 at 16:20 of the second period.

The Kings killed off a tripping penalty to Drew Doughty with 2:11 left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

The Kings had their chances in the extra period, putting nine shots on goal to the Sharks’ 14. The 14th was the dagger.

Ryane Clowe started the sequence in the defensive zone, picking the puck off Wayne Simmonds’s stick to start a 2-on-2 rush going the other way. Pavelski joined the play as Kings defenseman Alec Martinez fell down in the defensive zone and couldn’t get back in time to prevent Pavelski from getting off a clean one-timer from the right circle that sailed over Quick’s glove.

A few more notes:
Continue reading “San Jose 3, Kings 2, OT.” »

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Justin Williams update; TV schedule announced.

Justin Williams told reporters Tuesday in El Segundo that he will “probably” decide by tomorrow on his status for Thursday’s Game 1 in San Jose. Williams took part in a full practice for the second straight day.

“Overall, it felt better than yesterday,” Williams said. “I hope tomorrow feels better. That’s all I can say, really.”

Williams hasn’t played since suffering a separated right shoulder on March 21, three weeks and a day ago. The original timetable for his recovery was a four-week minimum.

Murray said that Williams would go into a top-six forward role right away. They could use him; in nine games since Williams’ injury, the Kings have averaged exactly 2 goals a game.

Also Tuesday, the Kings announced their TV schedule for the series:

Thursday, April 14 7 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose FSW
Saturday, April 16 7 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose FSW
Tuesday, April 19 7:30 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles PRIME
Thursday, April 21 7:30 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles PRIME
*Saturday, April 23 7:30 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose PRIME
*Monday, April 25 TBD San Jose at Los Angeles PRIME
*Wednesday, April 27 TBD Los Angeles at San Jose TBD

* = if necessary

As announced on Sunday night by the NHL, the Quarter-Final games will be televised nationally as follows:

Thursday, April 14 7 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose VERSUS, TSN
Saturday, April 16 7 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose VERSUS, TSN
Tuesday, April 19 7:30 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles VERSUS, TSN
Thursday, April 21 7:30 p.m. San Jose at Los Angeles TSN
*Saturday, April 23 7:30 p.m. Los Angeles at San Jose VERSUS, TSN
*Monday, April 25 TBD San Jose at Los Angeles TSN
*Wednesday, April 27 TBD Los Angeles at San Jose TSN
* = if necessary

For radio, all Kings 2011 Playoff games will air on KLAC AM 570.

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Williams, Parse eye return.

The only Kings players wearing gray jerseys, Justin Williams and Scott Parse had a whole forward line to themselves Monday.

Call it the “Questionable Line.”

It’s too soon to say whether Williams or Parse will play when the Kings visit the San Jose Sharks on Thursday for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. The prognosis was looking better for Williams in his return from a dislocated shoulder.

“My strength is up to par and everything,” he said after taking part in a full practice that included light contact. “I just need to get comfortable out there and not think about it and just see how it progresses throughout the week. If I go out there and I’m timid, I’m not going to do it. We’ll just take it slowly and, if it happens, great. It’s really tough sitting out playoff games, I know that, but I’ll try my best.”

Williams, whose 57 points and 35 assists (in 73 games) were second on the team, has not played since sustaining the injury March 21 against Calgary.

“I’ll get into some more intense battling this week and we’ll go from there,” he said. “The coach and I and the training staff will make a decision about whether I can go or not.”
Continue reading “Williams, Parse eye return.” »

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Kings will open 2011-12 in Stockholm.

The Kings are going back to Europe.

For the second time ever, and the first time since 2007, the Kings were chosen Sunday to take part in the “NHL Premiere,” a now-annual tradition of beginning the regular season in Europe. The Kings and New York Rangers will open their regular season on Friday, Oct. 7 at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. The next day the Kings play the Buffalo Sabres at O2 World Arena in Hamburg.

What’s interesting about this trip is that the Kings currently have no players native to the countries in which they will play, usually a determining factor when the league picks its European-bound teams. The Rangers are led by Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist, while the Sabres feature German forward Jochen Hecht.

Kings center Anze Kopitar is an alumnus of the Swedish Elite League, where he played for Sdertlje SK for two years before coming to America. That’s the most plausible factor that landed the Kings in Sweden.

The Kings lost four straight on American soil after splitting a pair of games with the Ducks at O2 Arena in London to start the 2007-08 season. It will be interesting to see how the team handles its post-European schedule differently this time around.

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First round series set: Kings vs. Sharks. Updates with schedule.

The Kings are hoping the second all-California NHL playoff series ends just like the first: In favor of Southern California.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 home loss to Detroit on Sunday means that the Kings will be the seventh seed in the Western Conference and play the second-seeded San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs.

The Sharks will have home-ice advantage when the best-of-seven series starts, which begins Thursday.

Update: Here is the schedule:

Game 1 at San Jose Thursday, 7 p.m.
Game 2 at San Jose Saturday, 7 p.m.
Game 3 at Kings April 19, 7:30 p.m.
Game 4 at Kings April 21, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 * at San Jose April 23, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 * at Kings April 25, TBD
Game 7 * at San Jose April 27, TBD
* = if necessary

The Kings and Sharks have never played each other in the playoffs, but the Kings do have experience winning as a seventh seed: Their last playoff series victory came in 2000, when the seventh-seeded Kings toppled the second-seeded Detroit Red Wings in six games.

To repeat the feat would require a sizable upset, but not any more so than the Ducks’ six-game series victory over the Presidents Trophy-winning Sharks in 2009.
Continue reading “First round series set: Kings vs. Sharks. Updates with schedule.” »

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Ducks 3, Kings 1.

Vancouver or San Jose?

That’s the question facing the Kings after 82 games, the two brands of poison awaiting in the first round for a team that will finish either seventh or eighth in the Western Conference. Here are the scenarios following a season-ending, 3-1 loss to the Ducks:

If the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings today, the Kings are the eighth seed and play Vancouver.

If Chicago loses in overtime or a shootout, the Kings are the eighth seed and play Vancouver.

If Chicago loses in regulation, the Kings have the seventh seed and play San Jose.

The Kings went 2-2-0 against the Canucks – 1-1 at home, 1-1 on the road, winning the first two and losing the last two. They went 3-3-0 against the Sharks –1-2 on the road, 2-1 at home, and getting both home wins via shootouts.

Not that Terry Murray is crunching numbers just yet.

“I’m not watching the scoreboard right now,” the coach said. “It’s just disappointing we did not have the handle to take control of our own destiny the last couple games.”

The team expects to have its playoff schedule sometime after 7 p.m. tomorrow.

A few notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions.
Continue reading “Ducks 3, Kings 1.” »

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Not your usual Fan Appreciation Day.

The Kings are honoring the Fan Appreciation Day tradition at the last home game of the regular season with a twist.

The team is partnering with “Be The Match” in hopes of helping a 19-year-old fan named Tanner Raboin by staging a Bone Marrow Registry Drive across from section 115 during the duration of the Kings-Ducks game. Tanner is a college student who is battling chronic illness as a result of a genetic disorder called Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD).

From the team’s press release:

The registration process to become a potential marrow donor involves: a consent form that includes basic contact information, race & ethnicity, simple health history questions and a signature. Once that is complete, the person registering does a self-administered cheek swab that takes less than a minute.

Due to his current ailment he is unable to partake in his number one passion, attending Kings games.

Throughout the season, “Tannerheads” were seen at every Kings related event. Tannerhead was created by Tanner’s father as a tribute to his son, and vowed to include him (Tannerhead) in every Kings related event until he is well enough to attend himself.

Tanner is a patient at the National Institutes of Health, under the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He is closely followed by the Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases team (LCID). Tanner was admitted at NIH Clinical Center on December 07, 2010, for further treatment of increased lung infiltrates. He has not improved clinically, and is under aggressive antibiotic and anti-fungal treatment.

Given the serious nature of his infection and illness at present, Tanner is participating in a research study that focuses on his illness and receiving treatment for his infections and is admitted indefinitely until the infections are under control. Tanner was placed in the National Marrow Donor registry almost three months ago with no match to date. It is the intension of Tanner and his doctors to find a donor match, that will ultimately cure him of his disease. At present Tanner has made no significant improvement since being admitted at NIH, and may need to use a transplant to ultimately save his life.

Be The Match is a movement that engages a growing community of people inspired to help patients who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor. Be The Match offers the public an opportunity to get involved by joining the Be The Match Registry, donating umbilical cord blood, contributing financially to Be The Match FoundationSM or volunteering time.

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Kings 3, Phoenix 2, shootout.

Of the many questions they have faced this season, the Kings answered the biggest of them all on Wednesday: They will participate in the playoffs.

A dominant victory over a possible first-round playoff opponent would have been a nice luxury. A 3-2 shootout win, in which Jonathan Quick stopped two out of the three shooters and Michal Handzus and Jarret Stoll beat Ilya Bryzgalov, got the job done.

The Kings moved into fourth place in a still-tight Western Conference playoff race, and have the inside track on home-ice advantage for the first round. Stoll also scored in regulation off a terrific Dustin Brown set-up, and Kyle Clifford scored off a terrific Wayne Simmonds set-up.

The Kings finished 3-3 against the Coyotes in the regular season, winning the last two.

Here are a few more notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
Continue reading “Kings 3, Phoenix 2, shootout.” »

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