Veteran center Simon Gagne, sidelined since Dec. 26 because of complications from a concussion, is expected to be back in the Kings’ lineup tonight for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. He could replace Brad Richardson as the Kings try to inject more offensive punch into their lineup. The Kings have scored only two goals in two overtime victories in the Final. The Kings’ power play has been abysmal during the playoffs, clicking only six times in 77 chances (7.8 percent).
Gagne, who has been skating since May 25, could help.
It remains to be seen how effective he can be, however.
Richardson has only one goal in 13 playoff games.
–Ice, ice, baby
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell took a quick spin around the Staples Center ice this morning in preparation for Game 3 of the Final tonight. Handling the puck was easy again and the arena was cool, a far cry from the snowy conditions at the Prudential Center for the games in Newark, N.J. The heat and humidity in New Jersey last week did a number on the ice in the arena, especially for Game 1.
“It felt like Edmonton in the mid-1990s after what we went through in New Jersey,” Mitchell said of the ice conditions. “You could actually make plays out there. It felt great. There’s a good chance of having a decent hockey game out there. You don’t say that too often about the Staples ice.”
–Welcome back, Kelly
Kelly Hrudey was the Kings’ goaltender the last time they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993. He has served as a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada for many years since retiring, but he’s never lost touch with the Kings or his former teammates.
“I’m feeling very emotional,” he told a couple of reporters when he walked into the Kings’ dressing room this morning. “It’s been amazing. We had a pretty good team back then. It feels great to see the Kings have success again. I’ve been a big fan for a lot of years, watching them from far. I’m a big fan of (Kings GM) Dean Lombardi. …
“You can tell how excited I am. This is cool.”