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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 4:22 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings welcome time to rest prior to second round

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There wasn't much for the Los Angeles Kings to do Sunday except rest and wait for their next opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

About eight forwards and six defensemen participated in an optional skate. Kyle Clifford was not among them, and coach Darryl Sutter gave a defiant "no" when asked about an update. Clifford skated on his own before the morning skate of Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the St. Louis Blues, but did not play.

Sutter was otherwise glad to get a break in between series.

"It's really good," Sutter said. "Between regular season and first round, we were flying today and practicing tomorrow so it's critical for some guys to recover, not only in terms of injury but energy."


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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 6:41 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Ducks loose, confident heading into Game 7

ANAHEIM -- Viktor Fasth walked over to the stereo and turned up The Who’s “Eminence Front.” A few minutes later, Bob Marley’s voice permeated the room. As Sheldon Souray spoke to reporters, Sami Vatanen playfully joined the scrum and used a water bottle as a microphone.

Yes, the Anaheim Ducks locker room was surprisingly loose Saturday after the team got in at 2 a.m. following an overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Game 7 is Sunday at Honda Center (NBCSN, RDS, TSN, FS-D, FS-W) , and the Ducks appear to have shaken off an unhappy down plane ride home.

“Guys will rise to the occasion,” defenseman Luca Sbisa said. “We’ve been a team that usually plays the best in situations like that. We have a lot of confidence. We don’t need motivation, any energy boost. You’re so amped up, you have to control your energy and your emotions because you’re so fired up to play … but I think everyone is looking forward to it, and it’s going to be a great feeling when [you] come back into this dressing room as the winning team.”

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 2:41 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Clifford a question mark for Kings

LOS ANGELES -- The big drama for the Los Angeles Kings at the morning skate Friday was the absence of forward Kyle Clifford, which was explained by coach Darryl Sutter.

"He gets here before you guys," Sutter said. "Then he was doing a Geico commercial, and then he was doing the weather with Channel 4 this morning up in the helicopter."

Sutter expanded to say Clifford "had … what does [St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock] call it? A maintenance day, the day of the game."

If Clifford can't play, that would seem to be the only significant change for the Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Blues at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 6:59 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings ready for another physical battle with Blues

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings went through last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs like a buzz saw. So far this spring, that saw has been dulled, bent and chipped in what is arguably the most closely contested series of this postseason.

"I don't remember all the statistics from series in the past, but from what I've read there [were] 377-some hits going into last game," Dustin Penner said of L.A.'s Western Conference Quarterfinal against the St. Louis Blues.

"I'd have to think this is the most physical one I've been a part of so far."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 3:42 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

No changes expected for Ducks, Red Wings

ANAHEIM -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock opened his press conference Wednesday with a rundown of what had transpired since he last spoke to the media.

"I went to Huntington Beach for a couple of hours and had a meal at Capital Grille," he said. "Fifteen teams left in the tournament. That should shorten this right up."

There wasn't much to talk about before Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Ducks, which will be played Wednesday at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Babcock said he will make no changes to his lineup, and Anaheim will appear to do the same, because it did not do line rushes during its morning skate.

Detroit evened the best-of-7 series at 2-2 partly because its young players have grown accustomed to the Stanley Cup Playoff intensity.

Babcock summed it up when he said, "Our kids got to be good or we can't win. We don't have enough."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 7:26 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Ducks need more from Perry in Game 5

ANAHEIM -- It's not exactly a news flash that when Corey Perry is scoring, the Anaheim Ducks are winning.

A look at the numbers tells it all: Including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Ducks are 20-5-2 when Perry records a point and 9-9-3 when he doesn't. So his one point through four games of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Detroit Red Wings is naturally magnified.

Game 5 is Wednesday at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Perry was a 50-goal scorer and Hart Trophy winner in 2010-11 who signed an eight-year, $69 million contract extension in March.

"If you know Corey Perry, you know how competitive he is," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said Tuesday. "I'm sure he is pressing a little too much. He's just got to do what comes natural to him. When you're getting chances, you know things are going OK.

"It's when you're not getting any chances and you're not getting any touches at the puck, then all of a sudden you start to worry about your game. But he had three really good chances [Monday] night, and I would venture to guess that if he had those three chances tomorrow night [in Game 5], he's going to put two of them in."

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 2:25 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings likely to go with seven defensemen again

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter will appear to go with seven defensemen again and rotate wingers on the fourth line for Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Alec Martinez took part in the line rushes Monday with Rob Scuderi, while Jake Muzzin was with Slava Voynov. Drew Doughty skated with usual partner Robyn Regehr while Keaton Ellerby would remain in, largely as a penalty-killing force.

Jordan Nolan took rushes with the fourth line but stayed out with the extras.


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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 5:37 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Martinez makes an immediate impact in return

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – It was difficult not to notice Alec Martinez when he stepped on the ice for an optional skate Sunday.

The sombrero gave him away, for starters. He also wore a green jersey and a red sock and white sock in a presumed homage to the Mexican flag on Cinco de Mayo. A few cheers went up from the sparse crowd.

"We obviously had a little fun with that in the locker room," said Martinez, who actually has Spanish heritage on his grandfather's side. "If you can't laugh at yourself, I don't think you can't laugh at all. We had fun with it but it was back to work once we were on the ice."

Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he bought the sombrero at liquor store in the morning, and Martinez gave the line of the day when told about his coach's, um, shopping habits.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 3:10 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings could switch up defense with Martinez

LOS ANGELES -- There could be a new face on the Los Angeles Kings defense, and it doesn't appear to be Matt Greene who is going back into the lineup.

The Kings changed up their defensive pairings at the morning skate Saturday as Alec Martinez skated with Rob Scuderi while Slava Voynov was with Jake Muzzin.

The presence of Martinez is significant because he has not played since April 2. He didn't know or wouldn't say if he would play in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"Ask Darryl," Martinez said in reference to coach Darryl Sutter. "Every guy wants to play. I'll just wait, and if my name's called I'll be ready."

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 6:23 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings regroup looking for more goals

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The sun came up for the Los Angeles Kings when they returned home Friday. In fact, it was 93 degrees in L.A. and the Kings tried to put a sunny outlook on their 2-0 deficit against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The Kings last faced a 2-0 series hole in the 2002 conference quarterfinals. They last time they erased such a deficit and won was in the 2001 conference quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings.

This is drastically different from the Stanley Cup run last season in which Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead in all four postseason series.

“We’re not going to do what we did last year,” forward Dustin Penner said. “We've got to find different ways to win games now.

“We expect to win them all. We know based on reality, that’s probably not going to happen. But you just take each task on as it comes at you. Now we’re down, 2-0, we've got to worry about having a good start. They’re going to come in here -- opportunity lies in front of them -- they want to get that third one just like we did last year. We've got to combat what they’re going to bring to the table.”

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Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers