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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 Trade Deadline blog

Getzlaf signing brings Perry's future into question

There was a strong argument to be made that before Friday, the top two potential talents in the unrestricted free agent Class of 2013 were members of the Anaheim Ducks.

Now it is just the top potential UFA in July who plies his trade for the Ducks after center Ryan Getzlaf agreed to an eight-year, $66 million contract Friday, and the future of his friend and linemate Corey Perry becomes one of the most interesting storylines in the NHL.

To be clear, the Ducks are one of the great stories of the 2012-13 season, as coach Bruce Boudreau has Anaheim in first place in the Pacific Division and second only to the juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL standings. The chances of anything happening with any pending UFA on the Ducks, let alone a franchise-type player like Perry, are extremely remote because Anaheim clearly is a Stanley Cup contender until proven otherwise.

Still, there will be plenty of attention focused on Perry, and any discussions about a contract extension for the 2011 Hart Trophy winner and speculation about a new destination for him won't completely subside until he signs a new deal or does find a new home.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hurricanes captain Staal defends Semin's character

WASHINGTON -- The Carolina Hurricanes are trying to retain their place atop the Southeast Division despite a rash of injuries, and the Washington Capitals are trying to get back into the playoff race after a dreadful start.

That alone would make this division battle an important one, but Alexander Semin's return to Washington -- and the feelings said return elicited in Capitals forward Troy Brouwer on Monday -- have added some juice to this contest.

Semin spent seven seasons with the Capitals before signing a one-year deal in the offseason with the Hurricanes. Brouwer wasn't shy about discussing Semin's perceived lack of consistency with things like work ethic and commitment, but Hurricanes captain Eric Staal stood up for his linemate Tuesday morning after the team's skate at Verizon Center.


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Posted On Monday, 02.25.2013 / 2:31 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Green expects to rejoin Capitals lineup Tuesday

ARLINGTON, Va. -- After two injury-ravaged seasons, the last thing Mike Green wanted in 2012-13 was another ailment to deal with.

He's been out of the lineup for nearly two weeks with a groin injury, but the Washington Capitals defenseman expects to return Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Green has been close to returning for the past few days, but past troubles helped him commit to patience as the preferred strategy.

"Yeah, I mean [not playing] Saturday was kind of from experience and it was a wise one. I’m 100 percent and ready to go," Green said. "Even from Saturday in warm-ups to today skating is night and day. Those two days to rest was perfect."

Added coach Adam Oates: "I hope [he's ready]. We'll see how he feels in the morning. I know he was going full speed, so unless there's a setback the rest of the day, I hope so."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.10.2012 / 1:12 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Offense suddenly hard to come by for Kings

NEWARK, N.J. -- After three rounds of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings looked nothing like the team that struggled to score goals before a few personnel changes in February.

After winning the first three games of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, there were few concerns for a team won victory from a championship. Now there is -- the Kings aren't scoring goals like there were a couple of weeks ago.

Los Angeles has only eight regulation goals in five games against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils, and four of them came in one contest. The Kings do have two overtime tallies, and that is a huge reason why they are up 3-2 in this series and not behind.

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Posted On Friday, 06.08.2012 / 5:13 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Personnel changes give Kings PP a boost

NEWARK, N.J. -- For weeks members of the Los Angeles Kings have been quizzed about their power play, to the point where the answers blended together with each passing game.

That was because the team couldn’t score with the man advantage. Now, after two straight games with a power-play goal, there were more questions for the Kings after practice Friday -- but they were more positive queries.

“We’ve been able to shoot the puck and we’ve been able to get traffic,” forward Justin Williams said. “There is no secret to a good power play. Everyone knows that -- shots, tips, screens, rebounds.”

All of those questions before came because the Kings could not score with the man advantage. Los Angeles had six power-play goals in 16 games after Game 2 of this Stanley Cup Final -- and three of them came with a two-man advantage.

The Kings were 3-for-71 in 5-on-4 situations, a black mark on an otherwise pristine run through the Western Conference and to a 2-0 lead in this series against the New Jersey Devils. Now the Kings have scored three times in the past two games, including two in less than three minutes of the third period to put away Game 3 and another that evened Game 4 in the third period.

“We’ve been just been very opportunistic,” Williams said. “We haven’t gotten very many, and when you don’t get many power plays, you tend to put more focus on it, which you shouldn’t, but New Jersey doesn’t take many so we don’t get many opportunities.”

One of the changes in Game 3 was the addition of Dustin Penner to the second power-play unit. Penner has played with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on the second line since the start of the second round, but Richards and Carter were previously on the top power-play unit with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.

Williams was previously on the second unit with Dwight King and Jarret Stoll. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said his reason for switching the personnel -- the Kings went with their top two lines and two defensemen on the two units -- was because the team was protecting a two-goal lead, but Penner’s big body created a screen for Carter’s tally to make it 3-0.

“Line combos instead of power-play combos,” Brown said. “I don't know if that had anything to do with it. Ultimately we're getting shots to the net.”

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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 7:11 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

L.A.'s power-play ineffectiveness one of few worries

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Killing penalties has been a great strength for the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
 
They have erased 92.1 percent of their foes' opportunities, which is tied with the St. Louis Blues for best among the 16 postseason participants. They are also perfect in two games against the New Jersey Devils in the Cup Final.

Still, it is a concern for the Kings that they have put New Jersey on the power play so much -- eight times in two games, more than twice the number of man-advantage situations they have earned.
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Posted On Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 1:39 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Depth plays huge role for Kings in Game 2

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jonathan Quick is the constant, the bedrock of the Los Angeles Kings machine.

He makes the engine go, but the guy or guys who have helped Quick lead the Kings to victory after victory this postseason has been a rotating cast of characters. Trying to figure out who that guy is going to be is probably futile -- the Kings certainly don't who it is going to be.

They just expect it to be someone, and it is hard to argue with that belief after this incredible playoff run.

"It is the depth on our team," Jarrett Stoll said. "We've got a lot of guys that can put the puck in the net. We've got a lot of guys that come up with big plays. That's what you need. I don't think you can win with one or two lines and a couple D, or just a goaltender. You've got to have good depth and guys who chip in, whether it is offensively scoring a goal or killing penalties or blocking shots or taking a hit to take a play. There are so many things that go into it, but right now there a lot of guys doing a lot of good things."

Jeff Carter was the hero Saturday night, whipping a shot through a mass of bodies in overtime to give the Kings a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 series lead. Carter hasn't been a star for the Kings in this postseason, but they haven't needed him to be.

He's got five goals and 10 points, which has made him a solid secondary option. Game 2 has been Carter's time in this postseason. He had a goal in Game 2 against St. Louis, and he had a hat trick in to help the Kings to a 2-0 lead in the conference against Phoenix.

"You should come in every game expecting to win -- every game, regardless if you're home or away, thinking you're going to win," Justin Williams said. "We have that. The first two games could have gone either way. We've had a different hero step up, and tonight it was Jeff."

Anze Kopitar was that guy in Game 1 against the Devils. Dustin Brown has been that guy on a few occasions.
It hasn't always been the stars, though. Stoll sealed the first-round victory with a Game 5 overtime goal. Dustin Penner added an OT winner in Game 5 against the Coyotes. Dwight King, who was in the American Hockey League until February, and has spent most of this postseason as a bottom-six forward, has five goals for Los Angeles.
Every night it might be someone different, and the Kings are two wins from the Stanley Cup in part because of that.

The other part is Quick, who is now 14-2 and the Kings have scored a total of one goal in his two losses.
He fumbled the puck a few times early in Game 1, which might have just been Cup Final nerves, but Quick was outstanding late in that contest throughout Game 2. He's allowed two goals in two games -- one went off a teammate and in, and the other was tipped and veered at a sharp angle.

"He was on his game the whole time," Matt Greene said. "Game 1 you can say it was nerves or it wasn't, but he was there when we needed him and he's been a force all playoffs. ... We haven't had the best games [against New Jersey] in front of [Quick], but he's kept us in it and allowed us to get the wins."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 1:14 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings get boost from fourth line

NEWARK, N.J. -- The fourth line of the New Jersey Devils earned plenty of plaudits for their work in the opening three rounds of the playoffs, particularly in the conference finals against the rival New York Rangers.

Los Angeles is also a team that uses all four lines regularly, but it has been the guys on their top three that have seen most of the spotlight in the Kings’ march through the Western Conference.

It was L.A.'s fourth line that had a big night in Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

“You know, they probably had one of the best games in the playoffs so far,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “And they had some really good ones before. Tonight they capped it off with a nice goal. Definitely got us going in the first period.

“Seems like we came out a little slower than we wanted to. The way they came out and established the forecheck, had some cycles in their zone, gave us a huge boost.”

Colin Fraser scored the first postseason goal of his NHL career midway through the first period. It was a perfect, fourth-line kind of goal. Jordan Nolan chipped an outlet pass into the New Jersey zone and raced after it. Andy Greene beat him to it, but Nolan hit Greene twice to help dislodge the puck and then turned to find Fraser cutting toward the net.

“He forced the turnover. He was the guy who did all the work,” Fraser said. “He got in on the d-man and turned the puck over and he just found me in the slot. I just tried to get it off as quick as I could. I wasn’t really aiming.”

Added captain Dustin Brown: “Our first goal is a direct result of our forecheck. We had a lot of chances off the forecheck and there was a couple that skipped over our stick, the puck was bouncing. On the flip side of that I think it's harder for those defensemen to make plays with the ice and puck bouncing like that. Our forecheck was good, it needs to get better.”

Fraser missed a couple of games earlier in the postseason because of a personal issue, but he, Nolan and Brad Richardson have been together on the fourth line when they were available since Dustin Penner was moved to the second unit at the onset of the St. Louis series.

Nolan has spent some time on the second line this season, but those three guys have found some chemistry during this postseason. They all played more than 11 minutes, and Nolan was credited with four hits.

“He’s a big body and he’s got lots of speed,” Fraser said of Nolan. “He gets in on the forecheck well. Even [Richardson] on the other side, he’s not as big but he’s got lots of speed. It is kind of nice as the centerman there. We seem to get on pucks first every time and I just try to stay at F3. I take care of the defense and they do the hard work in the corners.”
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 4:44 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Kings focused on keeping Smith in net

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mike Smith has had a great postseason, and the Los Angeles Kings saw in Game 4 of this Western Conference Finals how he can affect a game both by stopping shots and by stopping the forecheck with his outlet passes.

The objective for the Kings in Game 5 Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS) will be simple, but not something that always is easy to execute: Make Smith work more in his crease and less outside of it. Los Angeles had 36 shots in Game 4, but many were from the perimeter and few came after the initial attempt.

"Some of them were [quality shots], some of them were from the outside," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "Sometimes even the outside shot seems harmless, but it can be dangerous. The second and third chances off that shot are the most important. We've got to make sure we keep making him work and get some guys in front of him."

Added forward Dustin Penner: "We need to put more traffic towards their goaltender, get more second and third opportunities. Not so many one-chance-and-done kind of things."

The other facet of Smith's game that frustrates opponents is his ability to play the puck. Los Angeles loves to wear teams down on the forecheck, and the Kings have had success doing that against the smaller Coyotes. Not so after the early stages in Game 4, however, and Smith's ability to get the puck out of danger before the L.A. forwards arrive was a big part of that.

As Kopitar put it, when the Kings send the puck into the Phoenix end they need to "either fire it really hard or try to make sure it doesn't end up in the trapezoid area."

"Smith can handle the puck with the top goalies in the League," forward Dwight King said. "We try to keep our dumps away from him, realizing that he can make plays with [the puck]. We definitely know what he is capable of doing to us and we need to keep that in our mindset."

The Kings have lost only twice in this postseason, both times being a Game 4 with a chance to sweep the opponent. Los Angeles responded in Game 5 against Vancouver with an overtime victory at Rogers Arena.

They will be going for their eighth consecutive victory away from Staples Center when they face the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.

"We've had to be [a good road team]. That's a fact," coach Darryl Sutter said. "You're not a home-ice team, you've got to be. When you're a team that doesn't score many goals, you've got to be. You've got to manufacture and find different ways to do it. We found it.  

"I know what the talk is, because of our road record. When you look at all the different ways the team's won, it's won by your goalie being great, or your power play, or the other team taking a bad penalty, your penalty killing, overtime. There's so many different ways to it. It's not just, 'That's how you did it, that's how you do it.' There's so many different ways of doing it. The biggest thing we do is, win or lose, try and play the same way. That's the most important thing."

Here is the projected lineup for the Kings, who aren't expected to make any changes from Game 4:

Justin Williams - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dwight King - Jarrett Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Jordan Nolan - Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser

Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Matt Greene - Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
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Posted On Saturday, 05.19.2012 / 8:51 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Veteran Coyotes not worried about what future holds

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There has been plenty of uncertainty for the Phoenix Coyotes around this time of year in recent seasons. When the Coyotes were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings in each of the past two postseasons, they've had to answer questions about the future whereabouts of the franchise.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who came to the desert with the organization from Winnipeg after his rookie season, has had to answer those types of questions more than anyone. As the Coyotes face elimination from the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, there is a different kind of uncertainty for Doan.
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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season