True, general manager Dean Lombardi was looking for a short-term addition to the Kings’ defense corps when he acquired veteran Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres on April 1. But there was far more to the deal than that. Lombardi also viewed Regehr as more than just a rental player for the rest of the 2012-13 season.
The Kings killed off all of a two-man disadvantage, but Joe Thornton pass the puck to Patrick Marleau near the right goal post and Marleau shifted it to Logan Couture in the slot for the winning goal while the Sharks skated 5-on-4. San Jose’s victory trimmed the Kings’ deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series. The Kings are scheduled to return to El Segundo for a little rest, recovery and preparation for the next two days. Game 4 is in San Jose on Tuesday. The Kings must avoid the penalty box, as they did in the closing moments of the third period. Robyn Regehr was penalized for hooking and Trevor Lewis followed him to the penalty box for running into goaltender Antti Niemi. It wasn’t a disciplined finished.
Robyn Regehr suffered a second broken nose in the playoffs when a wayward stick conked him on the bridge of his beak in Game 5 The Kings’ veteran defenseman shrugged off his latest injury. After all, he’s lost track of how many times it’s been broken.
“Just putting my nose in all the wrong spots, I guess,” he said when asked the Kings’ morning skate Friday about his nose and the physical play in the series. “No, it just feels the same as before. A little more hook to it, that’s all. … It’s been great playoff hockey. It’s been physical. It’s tight checking. Very tight games. All the games have been one goal. A couple of overtime games. That’s what playoff hockey is all about.”
The Kings have scored only three goals during their first-round playoffs series against St. Louis, and the Blues have scored four. The Kings trail the best-of-7 series 2-1 going into Game 4 on Monday night at Staples Center. “There’s all kinds of things that happen within the game,” Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr said. “Some people call it the game within the game. Call it whatever you want. It’s a tough series. It’s been a hard-fought series, a low-scoring, tight series. There’s all kinds of stuff that’s happening out there. As an individual, you want to win as many as those little battles. … I enjoy it, yeah.”
The Kings won’t win the Western Conference or the Pacific Division. The best they can do is finish fourth in the conference and second in the division. But with only three regular-season games remaining before they begin their Stanley Cup championship defense, it would be difficult to find a team playing better then the Kings are at the moment.
The evolution of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty continued Saturday night at Staples Center. The numbers might not reflect it, but years from now Doughty might very well look back on the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season as a turning point in his career.
Doughty went into the Kings’ game against the rival Ducks with four goals and 14 assists in 41 games, off the pace for last season’s 10 goals and 26 assists in 77 games. He admitted it bothered him to see his production slow to only a trickle.
Drew Doughty figures he’s been paired with every Kings defenseman at one point or another this season except Slava Voynov. He’s played with Robyn Regehr steadily since Regehr was acquired in a trade earlier this month from the Buffalo Sabres. Doughty talked Saturday about their union and how their strengths mesh. Doughty talked about the player he’s likely to form a shut-down tandem with for the upcoming playoffs.
“Robyn’s kind of strictly defense,” he said. “He’s not going to jump up in the play. It gives me the opportunity to jump up every time I can. He’s always back there, solid. For the most part, I noticed he’s going to make the simple play. He’s not going to make that saucer pass over a stick or anything like that. He’s either going to go straight up to a winger (with a pass) or over to me. I want the puck in my hands as much as I can have it, and if he’s going to keep giving it to me, I love that. So far, we’ve worked really well together and I think as we get used to play with each other we’re going to get better and better.”
Here’s what Kings winger Jeff Carter said Saturday about new teammate, Robyn Regehr, a veteran defenseman acquired in a trade last Monday from the Buffalo Sabres: “I think I only played against him a few times. When I came to the West, he went to the East. I mean, he’s just a hard-nosed big, strong guy. He’s almost like a bully out there. He’s always in your face. Every time you turn around, he’s there. It’s great for us back there.”
Darryl Sutter talked about the play of newly-acquired defenseman Robyn Regehr, the hot streak of winger Justin Williams and his goaltending rotation in the wake of Jonathan Bernier’s shutout Thursday night of the Minnesota Wild. Here’s the coach’s analysis: