Playoff tickets for all Kings games at Staples Center will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at www.ticketmaster.com/lakings.
The Kings recalled forward Tyler Toffoli from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. Toffoli, a rookie who celebrated his 21st birthday by joining the Kings for their game against the Red Wings in Detroit, recorded five points (two goals and three assists) in eight games earlier this season. The Kings sent him back to Manchester earlier this month. He has 51 points (28 goals, 23 assists) in 58 games with the Monarchs. The Kings made the move in anticipation of a suspension to team captain Dustin Brown for elbowing Jason Pominville of Minnesota in the second period of a 2-1 loss Tuesday to the Wild. Or perhaps it was simply a coincidence.
These scenarios are courtesy the Kings’ crack media relations staff.
The Kings can clinch fourth place in the Western Conference on Tuesday night:
If the Kings defeat the Minnesota Wild in regulation, overtime or a shootout and the St. Louis Blues lose in any fashion to the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks lose in regulation against the Dallas Stars.
The Kings can clinch fifth place in the conference:
If the Kings beat the Wild in regulation, overtime or shootout, and the Blues lose to the Avalanche in any fashion. Or the Kings get one point against the Wild and the Blues lose in regulation to the Avalanche. Or the Kings beat the Wild (in any fashion) and the Sharks lose in regulation against the Stars.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier of the Kings was nominated Monday for the 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. The Masterton Trophy is awarded by the PHWA annually to the player who exhibits the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey. Masterton was a player for the Minnesota North Stars before he died Jan. 15, 1968 as a result of an on-ice injury.
Bernier did not play in the Kings’ playoff run last season because of Jonathan Quick’s excellence and durability, but Bernier has been a valuable member of the team this season. With Quick recovering from back surgery and working to regain his old form, Bernier compiled numbers that rank him among the NHL leaders.
Through the games of April 21, Bernier was 9-2-1 in 13 games with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, putting him among the league leaders in both categories. He also had one shutout. In addition, he is always available to the media for interviews.
Bernier, 24, missed the Kings’ Stanley Cup celebration visit to the White House to be with his family following the death of his beloved grandmother in March.
Bernier won the Kings’ Community Service Award for his charitable work last season. He donated four lower-level tickets to each game last season to patients from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and their families, and he met with each patient after games as part of a program called “Bernie’s Angels.” During the playoffs he conducted an essay contest to give away goalie gear to an aspiring goaltender. He helped select the winner and three runners-up and invited them to a goalie clinic.
Anze Kopitar’s streak without a goal reached 13 games after the Kings’ 4-3 overtime victory Sunday over the Dallas Stars. He hasn’t scored since March 25 against the Chicago Blackhawks. It doesn’t mean he’s not productive, however. He had two assists Sunday against the Stars, giving him nine helpers in his last nine games. Overall, he has a team-leading 41 points (10 goals, 31 assists) in 44 games.
Not long after Sunday’s game ended, with reporters clustered around Kopitar and team captain Dustin Brown in the dressing room, a veteran reporter decided to have a little fun with both players. The exchange went a little something like this:
Reporter to Brown: “Now if you just get that Kopitar guy going …”
Kopitar: “I’m sitting right here.”
Reporter: “Why do you think I said it so loudly?”
When the laughter of the players and reporters died down, Kopitar said it was great to see Brown score two goals against Dallas, adding, “We need everybody going. It was nice to see him get a couple. Hopefully, I will get a couple soon, too.”
The Kings’ victory Sunday over the Dallas Stars improved their record at Staples Center this season to 18-4-1, with one game on home ice still to play. They have won six consecutive games at home and are 9-2-3 in their last 14 overall. They clinched no worse than sixth place in the Western Conference with Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Stars. So, what’s next? Well, the Kings hit the road Monday for a two-game trip to play the Minnesota Wild and the Detroit Red Wings before returning home for the regular-season finale Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.
“We should keep going like that and build on the game,” center Anze Kopitar said late Sunday. “There’s some good stuff happening on the ice.”
The Kings won’t win the Western Conference or the Pacific Division. The best they can do is finish fourth in the conference and second in the division. But with only three regular-season games remaining before they begin their Stanley Cup championship defense, it would be difficult to find a team playing better then the Kings are at the moment.
It certain seems as if Kings coach Darryl Sutter has settled on Jonathan Quick as his No. 1 goaltender now that the regular season is down to only three games and the Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner. Sutter had this to say about Quick, who made 24 saves in the Kings’ 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night: “I think he’s been really good for us lately and I think it’s kind of on record of him saying that it’s about winning games and us saying it’s about giving us a chance to win.”
Tomorrow’s game story tonight …
Jeff Carter’s game-winning goal 4 minutes, 8 seconds into overtime seemed fitting. In a back-and-forth game with plenty of unusual bounces and head-scratching decisions, he was simply the right man in the right spot at the right time for the Kings.
Mike Richards’ shot from a sharp angle on left wing struck Carter in the chest and ricocheted into the Dallas Stars’ net to give the Kings a 4-3 victory Sunday night at Staples Center. The Kings clinched no worse than sixth place in the Western Conference with the win.
Jake Muzzin conducted a wide-ranging interview with reporters after Saturday’s practice in El Segundo. He fielded a variety of questions, perhaps the most intriguing of which centered on his ability to make the most of an opportunity to play with the Kings after prolonged injuries to veteran defenseman Matt Greene (back) and Willie Mitchell (knee).
Here’s some of what the rookie defenseman had to say:
“I know I have to continue playing well, and continue working and getting better, and I have lots to improve on and stuff like that. With these new guys coming in and old guys coming back in, it’s good for the team. It’s a competitive environment in here, which brings the best out in all the guys. I just have to continue working and getting better, and hopefully I continue playing with ‘Greener.’”
Here’s what he said when asked about forming a defense pair with Greene:
“Well, we all know what ‘Greener’ brings to the table. He’s a big, physical guy. Simple, hard working. So I just want to continue working hard, being physical like I have been and moving pucks. Hopefully, I contribute on the power play and just continue moving here.”
Here’s what he said when asked about feeling more settled with the Kings:
“I feel a little bit more comfortable. I mean, when you’re first here, you don’t want to make a mistake because you feel like you may be sent down or out of the lineup and stuff like that. But the game’s full of mistakes, and you have to play like you’re not afraid, right? You’re going to make mistakes, so you might as well go out and play. I have kind of settled down a little bit in that aspect of the game and I have to continue with that, actually. You’ve got to play confident and comfortable out there. You’re going to make more mistakes if you were trying to play, like, “Oh, I’m scared not to make a mistake.’”