KINGS AT OILERS
Faceoff: 6:30 p.m. TV/Radio: Prime, 790-AM
The Kings fell out of the second wild-card spot when they lost in a shootout Monday to the Vancouver Canucks and the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Minnesota Wild. The Kings’ single point moved them into a tie for third place with the Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division, but the Flames hold the tiebreaker with more wins in regulation or overtime 39-37. The Kings also dropped to 2-8 in shootouts and when coupled with a 1-7 mark in overtime it helps to explain why they face another must-win game when they face the long-since eliminated Oilers. The Kings complete the regular season with games Thursday against the Flames in Calgary and Saturday against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 63 points, including 47 assists. Backup goaltender Martin Jones might be called upon to play tonight after Jonathan Quick started Monday. Jones hasn’t started since a Feb. 27 loss to the Ducks and has appeared in only two games in relief since then. The Kings are 39-25-15. Jordan Eberle leads the Oilers (23-43-13) with 62 points (23 goals, 39 assists).
The Kings on Monday activated defenseman Robyn Regehr (broken hand) from injured reserve and placed goaltender Martin Jones (back spasms) on IR. Regehr is expected to play in Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames. Regehr skated with Alec Martinez during the Kings’ morning skate in El Segundo. Jones’ place as backup to Jonathan Quick will be filled by J.F. Berube.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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)
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.