Here’s some of what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say after a split-squad loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday in Glendale, Ariz.: “You are still wanting to see more of your young players who you want to give opportunities to in an exhibition game, as I said before. When you play two in one day there are a lot of guys that normally would not get a game at all, so now they get an opportunity.”
Here’s more: “Looking at Jeff (Carter), Tanner (Pearson) and Tyler (Toffoli) as a unit not as Jeff Carter. And we are trying to get some lines together and seeing if it can work together. Yeah, I think that line is really good. They were good all night.”
Marian Gaborik scored two goals and Andy Andreoff had one, but the Kings lost a 3-1 lead in the third period of their split-squad exhibition game against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday at Staples Center. Nick Shore then supplied the winner in a 4-3 shootout victory for the Kings. Here are three things about the Kings’ exhibition opener:
If Gaborik and Anze Kopitar appeared to be in midseason form, it might have had something to do with a short summer after the Kings won the Stanley Cup in June. “It feels like we never left,” said Gaborik, who slipped behind the defense to score a second-period goal and then converted on a pretty give-and-go play with Kopitar while on the rush in the third. “I feel good out there.” Gaborik, Kopitar and Dustin Brown formed the Kings’ top line after they acquired him at the trade deadline last March. There’s no reason to think they won’t play together again this season.
Shore doesn’t have much of a shot at making the Kings’ roster to start the season and most likely with play for their American Hockey League club in Manchester, N.H. He showed some veteran poise when he scored the winning goal in the shootout, however. He seemed unfazed by the fact that there are no jobs available in Los Angeles and that his ticket is all but punched for the minors. “Everyone in the organization takes a lot of pride and being an L.A. King and the tradition they’ve had the last couple of years, it’s fun to be a part of,” Shore said. “Ever since I was drafted and even before that they started to turn things around. It’s really just a mindset, and it starts at the top and trickles all the way down.”
Martin Jones started in goal, with the Kings in no rush to hurry Jonathan Quick back into a game after he underwent offseason wrist surgery. Jones stopped all nine shots he faced in 31 minutes, 13 seconds before Jeff Deslauriers replaced him with the Kings leading 2-0 in the second period. That’s another good sign that the Kings’ goaltending is in capable hands. Quick isn’t expected to be held out of too many upcoming games, although the Kings are typically secretive about such things. The Kings also played J.F. Berube in the split-squad game Monday at Glendale, Ariz. Depth is a wonderful thing to have, especially in goal and especially for an organization that didn’t have enough of it over the years.
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say after the Minnesota Wild rallied in the third period for a 3-2 victory Monday night: “We were better in the third (period) than we were in the first. We turned a lot of pucks over in the neutral zone. It had nothing to do with the third period, it was all the first period.”
Sure, the Kings held a 1-0 lead in the first period and were outscored 2-0 in the third, but Sutter didn’t like the way their sloppy play led to chances for the Wild in the opening 20 minutes. He also didn’t like how that set the tone for what followed. He wasn’t happy with the final result, but the game wasn’t won or lost in the third.
That was his story and he was sticking to it Monday.
Jonathan Quick made 24 saves in the Kings’ 3-1 victory Saturday afternoon over the Carolina Hurricanes at Staples Center, his second start since returning from his stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia. Then he offered his views on the team’s play in three games since ending the Olympic break.
“We’ve played well,” Quick said of the Kings’ three-game winning streak since the end of the break. “We played a really good road game against Calgary. I know we would have liked to have played better against Colorado, but we found a way to get a win. We played a good game (against Carolina). We have only 20 games or so left (actually, there are exactly 20 regular-season games remaining for the Kings). It’s very tight. Every game is important right now.
“We’ve got to bring our best every night.”
Next for the Kings: the Montreal Canadiens on Monday at Staples Center.
Kings forward Mike Richards skated through his 21st consecutive game without scoring a goal. He did have an assist on Drew Doughty’s power-play goal, the Kings’ lone score in a 3-1 loss Saturday to the Detroit Red Wings. He also had eight shots on goal and played 22 shifts over 16 minutes, 46 seconds. He hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 25 against the Vancouver Canucks, however.
“He played a good game tonight,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of Richards, who has 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) in 46 games. “It was probably his best game, with the most opportunities he’s had in 21 games.”
The Kings knocked the ice off their sticks, chipped away any lingering snow and went to work torching the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at Staples Center. The Kings’ offensive thaw was swift and certain and maybe a little unexpected, too.
The Kings scored four times in their 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, the most they’ve scored since beating the San Jose Sharks 4-1 on Dec. 19. Jeff Carter, Justin Williams, Alec Martinez and Dustin Brown scored for the Kings. Martinez became the first Kings defenseman to score a goal since he had the first one during their aforementioned win over the Sharks, ending an eight-game streak.
Talk about an Arctic vortex The Kings’ sticks turned into icicles recently.
Here’s Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s response when asked if he was well rested for his return to action after sitting out for 24 games because of a groin injury: “I had two months rest, I’m … rested.”