Three things about the Kings’ first victory of the new season

The Kings took a 4-1 victory from the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at Staples Center, their first win after a couple of clunkers to start their Stanley Cup defense. Jeff Carter, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, aka That 70s Line, each had a goal and an assist. Anze Kopitar scored his first goal of the season and Martin Jones made 29 saves.

Here are three things about the game, which was a step in the right direction:

First, That 70s Line is carrying the Kings so far, having accounted for all but one of the team’s six goals to start the season. That’s good and bad. It’s good because you have to figure Kopitar and Marian Gaborik will begin to produce more, especially once the third member of the line is solidified. Or as close to it as it gets with Darryl Sutter as coach of the Kings. Kopitar and Gaborik started out with Dustin Brown, but Sutter switched Justin Williams onto their line for Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes and kept Williams there for Sunday’s game against Winnipeg.

Second, Kopitar pulled no punches when asked about his line’s lack of production. Said Kopitar: “It can be better. Definitely a step in the right direction. I think we were moving the puck better. We had some zone time and we were creating some chances. But there is definitely room for improvement and we’re going to work on it.”

Third, Jones continues to amaze as Jonathan Quick’s backup. Nothing seems to faze him, not that the Jets represented an especially difficult challenge. Said Toffoli of Jones: “That guy’s a machine. That guy does it all. He’s such a great goalie.”

 

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Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s nutty quote of the day

Kings coach Darryl Sutter had this to say about pulling Jonathan Quick from Wednesday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks and replacing him with backup Martin Jones to start the third period of a game the team trailed 4-0: “I didn’t pull Quick because of his performance. Like I said, I don’t like pulling goalies in the first game of the year, or ever, but at that point in the game, it’s not Jonathan’s deal, it’s Jonesy’s deal.”

FYI: Quick gave up four goals on 27 shots.

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Kings coach Darryl Sutter talks about goalie Jonathan Quick’s status

The Kings took their time with goaltender Jonathan Quick after he underwent offseason wrist surgery. Quick didn’t play in the Kings’ first four exhibition games before playing in their final three during a trip to San Jose, Colorado Springs and Las Vegas. He’s expected to be in goal for Wednesday’s season-opener Wednesday against the Sharks.

“I don’t think it was progress,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of Quick’s progress from the start of training camp last month. “I think he was good from the start and our plan was exactly what happened. He wanted to play the whole second game in Colorado Springs and I just thought with the (high) altitude and all that, that I was just more concerned with the third period. So, then he was fine with that, and he was good from the start.”

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Three things about the Kings’ 4-2 exhibition victory over the Ducks

Jeff Carter scored three goals and Robyn Regehr struck once for the Kings in a 4-2 victory Sunday over the Ducks at the Honda Center. Carter’s goals sort of figured since he’s capable of such outbursts, but Regehr’s pinball shot in the first period didn’t. Regehr is what’s known as a defensive-minded defenseman. His offensive contributions are few and far between. They are not to be overlooked, however. Here are three things about the Kings’ second consecutive victory over their Southland rivals:

Rangers Marc Stall is checked into the boards by Kings Jeff Carter in the 3rd period of a Stanley Cup Final game. Carter had a hat trick in the Kings exhibition game Sunday. (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Rangers Marc Stall is checked into the boards by Kings Jeff Carter in the 3rd period of a Stanley Cup Final game. Carter had a hat trick in the Kings exhibition game Sunday. (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

 

 

First, Carter spoke after the game, a rarity. Here’s some of what he said when asked about his first three goals of the preseason: “You go to the net and good things are going to happen. Pucks drop down at your feet. It’s nothing different than what we usually do. Guys win battles and put pucks to the net. You get rewarded.”

Here’s what he said about linemates Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli: “They’ve both played great for us. They worked hard this summer to make sure they were ready to roll this year. It’s a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter how young they are or who they are or where they come from if they’re good enough to play in the league, and they’ve shown it. They weren’t given anything. They’ve earned it. They spent a lot of time in the minors.”

Second, Martin Jones looked sharp in goal again, stopping 33 shots. He looked poised and ready to play if needed if starter Jonathan Quick isn’t judged sound enough to start the regular season Oct. 8. Quick had offseason wrist surgery June 24 and hasn’t played in an exhibition game yet. He has been practicing with his teammates, however.

Third, the Kings know how to sit on a lead. They were outshot 18-7 in the third period, but neither their defense nor their goaltending cracked in crunch time. The Kings blanked the Ducks in the final period despite having to kill off a two-man disadvantage. They led 3-2 going into the third and finished up with a comprehensive 4-2 victory.

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Three things about the Kings shootout victory over the Ducks

Jordan Nolan, Dwight King and Tyler Toffoli scored in regulation play and King supplied the winner in the shootout as the Kings defeated the Ducks 4-3 on Thursday at Staples Center. Toffoli assisted on King’s second-period goal and Martin Jones had 25 saves. Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ win:

First, Toffoli could be poised for a breakout season for the Kings. We’ve seen flashes of offensive brilliance from him from time to time, never more than during the playoffs while skating with Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson. He scored a superb goal Thursday against the Ducks and set up King for the goal that tied the score at 2 in the second period. The pass was the better play than the shot, so he slipped a cross-ice pass to King, who beat Ducks goalie John Gibson. Here’s a link to the video highlights: http://kings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=731825&navid=DL|LAK|home

Second, Ryan Kesler is going to be a major pain in the butt for everyone in the NHL now that he’s with the Ducks, a team that learned it must be better up the middle after losing to the Kings in the second round of the playoffs last spring. He’s strong on the puck, makes a pest of himself around the net and when placed in the right spot he could be a difference-maker against the Kings’ formidable centers, including Anze Kopitar.

Third, has everybody had enough of the preseason yet? Let’s get going, shall we?

 

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Kings recall Martin Jones from Manchester, send J.F. Berube to minors

As expected, with the Olympic break over, the Kings recalled rookie goaltender Martin Jones from their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., and sent goalie J.F. Berube back to the minors. Jones, who is 8-4-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average, is expected to serve as Jonathan Quick’s backup for the rest of the season. The Kings return to the ice Wednesday to face the Colorado Avalanche. Berube has appeared in 34 games this season, all with Manchester.

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Kings re-assign goalie Martin Jones, forward Tyler Toffoli to Manchester

The Kings re-assigned goaltender Martin Jones and forward Tyler Toffoli to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., for the Olympic break. The team also recalled goalie J.F. Berube. Jones won his first eight NHL starts and is 8-4-0 overall with a 1.71 goals-against average for the Kings. Toffoli has 19 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 38 games for the Kings. Berube has a 19-13-2 record and a 2.43 goals-against average for Manchester.

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Kings trade goaltender Ben Scrivens, recall Martin Jones from Manchester

The Kings traded backup goaltender Ben Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday for a third-round pick in the draft in June. They also recalled rookie goalie Martin Jones from their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H.

Scrivens will have a chance to compete for the starting position with the lackluster Oilers, last in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference standings with a 15-29-5 record. Jones will serve as as Jonathan Quick’s backup with the Kings.

It figures to be a lonely job since Quick is expected to get the majority of the starts the rest of the regular season and during the playoffs. Quick is 13-6-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and two shutouts in 21 games. He was sidelined for 24 games after suffering a groin strain Nov. 12.

Jones’ 8-0-0 start to his NHL career while filling in for Quick cast doubt on Scrivens’ future with the Kings. Jones tied a league record by winning his first eight starts and was 8-3-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average and three shutouts in 11 games before he was re-assigned to the minors.

Scrivens was 7-5-4 with a 1.97 goals-against average and three shutouts in 19 games. The 27-year-old was acquired with forward Matt Frattin in the deal that sent backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs last June 23.

Clearly, the Maple Leafs got the better end of the swap. Scrivens is no longer with the Kings and Frattin has scored only six points (two goals, four assists) in 32 games. Bernier is 15-14-4 with a 2.58 goals-against average and one shutout in 34 games for Toronto.

 

 

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With goalie Jonathan Quick healthy, Kings send Martin Jones to minors

Jonathan Quick returned to the Kings’ lineup Saturday, leaving little doubt that he was all over the groin strain that sidelined him for 24 games. Quick made 27 saves in the Kings’ 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, and made it clear there was no need for the team to keep three goalies on their roster. Martin Jones, a 23-year-old rookie, was the odd-man out. Jones was re-assigned Sunday to the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate at Manchester, N.H.

Jones took the league by storm, winning his first eight games in the NHL. He began with a nine-round shootout win over the Ducks as a fill-in for Ben Scrivens, who had filled in after Quick was hurt Nov. 12. Jones’ final numbers were remarkable, with an 8-3-0 record, a 1.41 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage plus three shutouts in 11 appearances. The Kings believe it was better to send him to Manchester so he could continue to play. He would likely have been scratched for games if he stayed with the Kings as the third goalie.

For now, the No. 1 goalie spot belongs to Quick, with Scrivens as his backup. Some day that order might change, but that day is not today. Quick figures to get the bulk of the work as long as he remains healthy.

The Kings did not practice Sunday, so Jones was unavailable for comment.

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