Kings goalie Ben Scrivens made it clear Monday there was no secret formula to going 3-0-1 in four games on the team’s trip to play the Sabres, Islanders, Devils and Rangers. There was no magic wand to be waved. It was nothing but hard work that enabled him to play so well after starting goalie Jonathan Quick suffered a groin injury during the Kings’ shootout loss Nov. 12 to the Sabres.
Kings left wing Kyle Clifford joined backup goaltender Martin Jones and goalie coach Bill Ranford for an on-ice workout designed to keep the 23-year-old rookie netminder sharp. Everyone else got the day off after the team returned very early Monday morning from New York. Clifford missed the Kings’ trip because of a head injury suffered in a Nov. 9 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Clifford skated some and fired shots at Jones before heading off the ice. It’s unclear whether Clifford will be ready to play in Tuesday’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Goaltender Ben Scirvens went 3-0-1 with a 0.66 goals-against average and a .977 save percentage in three starts and one memorable relief appearance for the Kings on their four-game trip to Buffalo, Long Island, New Jersey and New York City. He lost in a shootout to the Sabres after replacing injured starter Jonathan Quick with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in overtime. Then he secured victories over the Islanders, Devils and Rangers as the Kings improved their overall mark to 14-6-1. He blanked the Devils and Rangers and extended his shutout streak to 155:02.
More later after the Kings’ practice/workout at El Segundo.
P.S. Tyler Seguin of Dallas and Josh Harding of Minnesota were the second and third starts for the week.
With a victory today, the Kings (13-6-1) can win their third game in a row and take seven out of a possible eight points on their four-game trip to play the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and the Rangers.
Dwight King scored the only goal the Kings would need in a 2-0 victory Saturday over the Devils, his sixth in 20 games. Justin Williams leads the Kings with seven goals. King had a strong training camp and Kings coach Darryl Sutter singled him out for praise heading into the regular season. Sutter said King had the best training camp of all the Kings, which had reporters rolling their eyes.
Well, Sutter must have seen something because King has lived up to the coach’s expectations and then some, filling a key role while forwards Jeff Carter (foot), Kyle Clifford (concussion) and Jarret Stoll (upper body) were sidelined by injuries. Stoll returned to the lineup Saturday, but Carter and Clifford are expected to be out for several more games. King has been a steady contributor.
The Rangers were 9-9-0 going into Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. They handled the Kings during the home-opening game at Staples Center back in October, but have since proved to be the height of mediocrity.
The Kings turned in a lackluster first 40 minutes Thursday, falling behind the New York Islanders by two goals at Uniondale, N.Y., before rallying behind third-period goals from defenseman Slava Voynov and rookie forwards Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli to pull out a 3-2 victory. The Kings have secured three points out of a possible four so far on their four-game trip. Here are three things about the Kings’ victory over the Islanders:
1. Coach Darryl Sutter was forced to ice a lineup that didn’t include forwards Jeff Carter (broken foot), Kyle Clifford (concussion) and Jarret Stoll (upper body), plus defenseman Matt Greene (upper body) and goaltender Jonathan Quick (groin). With the Kings playing as if they were stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, Sutter turned to Pearson, Toffoli and Linden Vey for some energy in the third period. The coach teamed the three rookies together, hoping their experience as a top line with Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League would aid them. Pearson scored the tying goal and Toffoli supplied the go-ahead score, with only 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the third. So, that worked well. You can expect to see them together again. Often. The Kings’ trip continues with games Friday against the New Jersey Devils and Sunday against the New York Rangers.
2. Ben Scrivens has a chance to show the Kings and their fans that the club didn’t get swindled in the offseason trade that sent backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Scrivens and forward Matt Frattin went the other way. Quick is out for up to six weeks because of a groin injury suffered Tuesday in the Kings’ shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, so Scrivens should have plenty of time to prove his value. Scrivens had 23 saves in the Kings’ come-from-behind victory over the Islanders, keeping them within striking distance while they were outplayed during the first two periods. Martin Jones will serve as his backup for the time being.
3. Slava Voynov continues to impress and amaze. He kick-started the Kings’ comeback with a goal from a sharp angle off a pass from below the goal line by Anze Kopitar. There’s more to the young defenseman’s game than scoring, though. The puck seemed to be following him around the ice in the third period, when the Kings wrestled control of the game from the Islanders. Voynov isn’t the biggest player in the Kings’ defense corps. He’s not their best puckhandler. He’s certainly not their most experienced player. He continues to make smart plays that help the Kings win games, however. It happens at both ends of the ice, too. He’s not a one-trick pony, which is why his value to the Kings will only increase as he logs more and more ice time. He’s trending in the right direction, in other words.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick suffered a strained groin during a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday to the Buffalo Sabres, according to reports from the team’s morning skate Thursday in Uniondale, N.Y. The Los Angeles Times reported an MRI exam revealed the injury was confined to Quick’s groin and that his hamstring was not hurt. Surgery is not required, but Quick could be sidelined for up to six weeks.
The Kings sent goaltender Jonathan Quick back to Southern California to get his groin/hamstring checked out after he was injured in Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Sabres in Buffalo. Quick was hurt in the final minute of overtime and was forced from the game. Ben Scrivens replaced him for the final 32 seconds of OT plus the shootout. The Kings recalled Martin Jones from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League to serve as Scrivens’ backup. Or perhaps to start one of the remaining three games on their four-game trip. The Kings play the New York Islanders on Thursday, the New Jersey Devils on Friday and the New York Rangers on Sunday before returning home to face the Tampa Bay Lightning next Tuesday.
The Kings placed defenseman Matt Greene and forward Kyle Clifford on the injured reserve list and recalled goaltender Martin Jones and forward Tanner Pearson from the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League. Greene and Clifford have unspecified upper-body injuries. It’s believed Greene’s injury is not related to the back surgery that sidelined him for almost all of last season. Clifford suffered a head injury during the Kings’ victory Saturday over Vancouver.
The Kings think quite highly of the 23-year-old Jones, who was 9-2-2 in 13 appearances for Manchester this season. He also has a 2.24 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and one shutout in his fourth season with the Monarchs. Pearson, 21, had 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 15 games in the minor leagues. He made his NHL debut during the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. He was scoreless in the Kings’ Game 3 loss.
The Kings rallied to tie the Buffalo Sabres, forcing Tuesday’s game to overtime and then a shootout before falling 3-2. Dwight King continued his fine season by scoring the tying goal. The Kings had two chances with the power play in overtime, but couldn’t score. Goaltender Jonathan Quick was forced from the game with an undisclosed injury late in OT and Ben Scrivens was pressed into a no-win situation. Here are three things about the Kings’ loss to the NHL’s last-place team.
Tickets to the Kings’ Stadium Series matchup against the Ducks on Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium will go on sale Nov. 19 at 10 a.m., the NHL announced Tuesday morning. Visit ticketmaster.com and/or ticketmaster.ca, the online outlets for tickets to the first outdoor game to be played in Southern California. You also can visit www.NHL.com/2014LosAngeles for further information. If you’re reading this from out of town, there are travel packages at www.nhl.com/fanpackages.