Goaltender Martin Jones’ memorable debut in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Ducks wasn’t surprising to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. After all, it wasn’t as if Jones was new to the rigorous of life for an NHL goalie. Until making his debut Tuesday, he had done everything but play in a league game.
Finally, he got his chance and made the most of it.
“Last two years was important because you get to watch,” Sutter said Friday, referring to the fact that Jones joined the Kings as part of their expanded roster during the Stanley Cup playoffs the last two seasons. “You watch, and young guys understand what game days are like. That’s good for them.”
Sutter revealed the reason he started Jones against the Ducks was he didn’t like some habits that slipped into the game of Ben Scrivens, who inherited the starting position after No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick suffered a groin strain Nov. 12.
“Just little things,” Sutter said. “You can’t do it at this level. You’re going to get scored on. We did a lot of work with Ben at training camp to get him into our program. There’s a reason why we don’t give up a lot of shots. There’s a reason we don’t give up a lot of goals around our net. … A big reason is the goaltender. If he’s getting away from that, he’s not going to play.”
From the now it can be told dept: defenseman Drew Doughty said he lobbied Kings coach Darryl Sutter to join a shootout, but his plea fell on deaf ears until Tuesday. Sutter finally gave Doughty a chance as the fifth shooter in an nine-round shootout decided by the Kings’ Dwight King. Doughty’s try was saved by the Ducks’ Jonas Hiller, but he was happy with his effort.
Veteran defenseman Matt Greene participated in Thursday’s non-contact practice, but there’s still no timetable for his return to the Kings’ lineup from an upper-body injury. He remains on the injured-reserve list and it certainly seemed unlikely he could play in Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders.
“Feel good. I feel good now,” Greene said. “You can’t replicate skating. The first couple of days are always tough. It’s good though. Coaches get out there and pound you for the first couple of days. It’s no fun, but it’s good. I think I’m getting closer (but) I don’t think you can put a date on it yet.
“But I think I’m getting closer. I’m getting more comfortable.”
Greene sat out all but five regular-season games last season after undergoing back surgery. This latest injury is unrelated to his back troubles.
Martin Jones went back to work Thursday morning in El Segundo, which was to say, he stayed on the ice longer than most of his Kings teammates. In other words, he resumed his duties as the Kings’ fill-in backup goaltender a little less than 48 hours after an unforgettable NHL debut.
Our friends at Fox Sports West have put together a package of several of the greatest games between the Kings and the Ducks, leading up to the Jan. 25 game between the rivals at Dodger Stadium. The first one aired last night and featured the teams wearing their pajamas. Missed it? The third-jersey madness from Jan. 27, 1996 will re-air on Christmas Eve at 3 p.m. Here are the other games:
To be shown Dec. 12
5 p.m. From Jan. 30, 2006, Teemu Selanne scores his 1,00th point.
7 p.m. From Oct. 6, 2006, Anze Kopitar scores his first NHL goal.
9 p.m. From Dec. 2, 1993, the first game between the teams (re-airs Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.
To be shown Jan. 22
7:30 p.m. From Jan. 22, 2003, Paul Kariya rallies the Ducks with two goals, two assists.
The Kings and the Ducks unveiled their uniforms for their Dodger Stadium showdown Jan. 25. Here’s the Kings sweater, as modeled by captain Dustin Brown: http://kings.nhl.com/club/gallery.htm?id=40788 Here’s the Ducks sweater, as modeled by captain Ryan Getzlaf: http://ducks.nhl.com/index.html
The Kings assigned forward Tanner Pearson to their American Hockey League affiliate at Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday and recalled defenseman Jeff Schultz. Pearson played in six games with the Kings and had one goal after playing 15 games for Manchester and recording 11 points (seven goals, four assists). Schultz had two points, including one goal, in 23 games for Manchester.
Left wing Dustin Penner has 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 22 games going into Tuesday’s grudge-match against the Kings at the Honda Center. He is the Ducks’ third-leading scorer behind linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who have 31 and 29 points.
The Kings’ bid for a franchise-record 12th consecutive game with at least one point came to a halt when they lost Saturday to the Calgary Flames. The prevailing thought in the dressing room was simply to “park it,” as defenseman Willie Mitchell phrased it Sunday. In other words, put it out by the curb and walk away from it. The Kings (16-7-4) have issues, starting with their faulty power play. They haven’t scored a man-advantage goal in the last five games, going 0 for 18. Right wing Justin Williams said the Kings need more shots from point-blank range instead of firing them from the perimeter while on the power play.
Williams scored the Kings’ lone goal Saturday, the 200th of his NHL career. Anze Kopitar had an assist for his 500th point. The teams meet for the first time since the Kings defeated the Blues in the first round of the playoffs last spring. The Blues are 18-4-3 and have the league’s second-best power play (22 for 89, 24.7 percent). Alexander Steen was tied with Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks for third in scoring with 31 points (20 goals, 11 assists), as of Sunday morning. Only Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (21) had more goals than Steen. Each had played 20 games.
The Kings held an optional practice Sunday, which meant there was a spirited soccer kick-around in the parking lot behind their El Segundo facility. Only a handful of players took the ice with assistant coaches John Stevens and Davis Payne and goalie coach Bill Ranford. Rookie goalie Martin Jones, still awaiting his NHL debut, was joined on the ice by injured defenseman Matt Greene plus injured forwards Matt Frattin and Trevor Lewis. Forward Tanner Pearson also skated.