The Kings’ Nick Shore made his NHL debut Saturday, logging 10 minutes, 35 seconds of ice time in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ducks. He was credited with one shot and said Sunday he felt at home in the Kings’ lineup after he was recalled from their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H., last week.
Nick, 22, could face his brother, Drew, if both are in their lineups Monday night when the Kings play host to the Flames at Staples Center. Drew Shore, 23, made his NHL debut for the Flames in Thursday’s victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
“I haven’t seen him play in a bit,” Nick Shore said after Sunday’s optional practice when asked for a scouting report on Drew. “Sometimes I catch his games. We have similarities. We see the game the same way. He plays a little more north-south than I do. It’s the same sort of thing. He likes being a good responsible player in all three (zones), and then, hopefully, the offense comes.”
The Kings fell to 1-7 in shootouts with a 3-2 loss Saturday to the Ducks at Staples Center, which helps to explain why they are scrambling to hold onto a playoff spot. Their shooters are a woeful 2 for 28 after Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik failed to score against the Ducks’ Frederik Andersen.
“We just can’t pick the right guys,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “I think we (picked) really well. Jeff, Kopi and Gabby. If you were betting on the game in shootouts, wouldn’t you choose Jeff, Kopi and Gabby?”
The Kings’ record of 20-14-11 left them in fifth place in the Pacific Division.
Backup goaltender Martin Jones suffered from back spasms so severe he was unable to dress for the Kings’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Ducks on Saturday. J.F. Berube was summoned from the Kings’ American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H., earlier in the day and he was Jonathan Quick’s backup. Jones’ ailment isn’t expected to sideline him for long, although his availability for Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames was not immediately certain.
The headline says it all. What we don’t know at the moment of this typing is what precisely is wrong with backup goaltender Martin Jones, who didn’t participate in the Kings’ morning skate Saturday. Coach Darryl Sutter told reporters Jones was ill, but it’s believed Jones is injured. The Kings avoided making a public announcement by recalling J.F. Berube from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League and placing forward Tyler Toffoli (mono) on injured reserve. No mention was made of Jones in the team’s press release, which is their choice.
More later. Maybe.
The Kings’ celebration of Rob Blake’s playing career is set to begin at 6:30 p.m., Saturday and the team would like everyone seated at Staples Center when the show begins. Blake’s jersey will be retired in a ceremony scheduled to last for about an hour. Some 35 to 40 former players are expected to attend, although it wasn’t immediately certain whether Wayne Gretzky would be on hand. The Kings were efforting to get the Great One in the building. The opening faceoff for the Kings-Ducks game is set for 8:08 p.m., but we’ll believe it when it happens.
Martin Jones earned a second consecutive start in goal for the Kings after shutting out the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0 on Monday. He hadn’t started for a month, since a 6-2 loss Dec. 12 to the Montreal Canadiens, but was razor sharp against the Maple Leafs. His only other appearance was a relief stint after Kings coach Darryl Sutter pulled Jonathan Quick after three goals on nine shots Dec. 3 against the Nashville Predators. Jones gave up four goals in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Predators.
“He hadn’t played in a month, so I don’t know if he bounced back,” Sutter said of Jones. “We need both our goalies to win games. That’s all we’re doing. We want to give Quick a chance to get six or more days between games, and we need our other goalie to win games. It’s not bounce back. It’s either you win or you lose. If we had won the other night, then Quick would have played tonight.” Got it? Good.
The Kings haven’t been outshot in a game since Nov. 29, when the Chicago Blackhawks did it to them 25-20 during a 4-1 victory at Staples Center. They were tied in shots on net 25-25 during a 5-2 loss Dec. 16 to the St. Louis Blues. But otherwise they have outshot everyone since that game against the Blackhawks. Monday, they outshot the Toronto Maple Leafs 20-19 in a 2-0 victory.
“It still doesn’t add up for us because if you’re just going on analytics we’re right at the top,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “We should have more (wins). It doesn’t really add up. We’re going to have to get better at it because with the goals out of our lineup (Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, in particular), and a bit of inexperience at our back end, we still have to find a way to get better.”
The Kings got back to their grinding defensive style of play during a 2-0 victory Monday over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center. No more running-and-gunning for the Kings, who played the sort of style that carried them to Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and ’14 but was absent during a three-game losing streak.
“We are a physical team,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “That’s how we wear other teams down. We get in on the forecheck. When they’re in our ‘D-zone’ we make it miserable for them to be down there. We did a better job of that tonight, but I think that we still have some room for improvement.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter was asked Monday morning how the team would fill the void created by the absence of young wingers Tyler Toffoli (mono) and Tanner Pearson (broken left ankle). He had a simple answer: “You don’t.”
Sutter also said: “They’re very important players on our team, not just numbers guys but a very big part of our puck possession game, our penalty-killing game, all that. You don’t replace those players. What you do is you put other guys in, guys who are either bitching about ice time or guys who you have to move out of position a little big or veterans who just have to give you a little bit more.”
Toffoli was diagnosed with mono Friday and Pearson was hurt Saturday.
Goalie Jonathan Quick has started 12 consecutive games for the Kings. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)
Backup goaltender Martin Jones, who last started a game Dec. 12 against the Canadiens in Montreal and who has played only once since then, will be in the Kings’ lineup Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jones relieved Jonathan Quick in the Kings’ 7-6 loss overtime to the Nashville Predators on Jan. 3. He also saved only 14 of 20 shots in a 6-2 loss Dec. 12 to the Canadiens.
Jonathan Quick started 12 consecutive games.