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Posted On Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 3:30 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blackhawks' Hossa out against Ducks

ANAHEIM – The absence of Marian Hossa will be one of the few things dimming the spotlight between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks.

Hossa didn't skate Wednesday, and Chicago coach Joel Quenneville ruled him out for the matchup Wednesday at Honda Center. Quenneville said Hossa is day-to-day and said the injury wasn't serious.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 2:43 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bernier looks likely to get start Tuesday for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Jonathan Bernier likely will get a chance to stay perfect at home when the Los Angeles Kings finish a back-to-back home series against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday.

Bernier was the first goalie off the ice at the Kings' optional skate Tuesday morning. He is 4-0-0 at Staples Center this season.

Coach Darryl Sutter probably wouldn't be questioned much if he went back to Jonathan Quick, who recorded his first shutout of the season with a 4-0 win Monday.

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Posted On Monday, 03.18.2013 / 3:30 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

McLellan lets Sharks know he expects more

ANAHEIM -- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan left open the possibility of lineup changes after what he called "easily" the team's most disappointing loss of the season Saturday.

But San Jose had an optional skate Monday and the most McLellan revealed was that Ryane Clowe would not play against the Anaheim Ducks because of a reported shoulder injury, while indicating there were no call-ups. Antti Niemi will start in goal.

"We'll make some decisions on other players after that," McLellan said.

Clowe was injured in the first period of a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, after which McLellan questioned his team's motivation and effort. He was forced to mix and match lines because of Clowe's absence, but added it probably wouldn't have made a difference.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.16.2013 / 2:51 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Top Kings prospect Toffoli set for NHL debut

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There will be a few more televisions in Scarborough, Ontario tuned into the Los Angeles Kings-San Jose Sharks game Saturday night.

That's the hometown of Tyler Toffoli, who is expected to make his NHL debut with the Kings. Toffoli, 20, will play right wing on the second line with Jeff Carter moving to center and Mike Richards on the other wing.

"I'm really excited," Toffoli said. "Obviously, it's my first game. I'm playing with two great players. I'm really excited and I just want to do the best I can and play my game.

"It's obviously a pretty big step coming from [Manchester of the American Hockey League]. It's faster, so a couple of days skating with them has really helped and I feel pretty good right now."

Coach Darryl Sutter, asked what his message is to a young player making his debut, said, "Try not to sit on the bench."

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Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 2:56 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Call-up by Kings a thrill for Toffoli

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tyler Toffoli still looked like he was riding high when he came off the ice at the Los Angeles Kings' morning skate.

Toffoli got the call Sunday to join the defending Stanley Cup champions. His next National Hockey League game will be the first for Toffoli, a baby-faced center who turns 21 next month.

"I was pretty tired, so I tried to sleep, but I so was excited I couldn't really sleep [on the plane]," Toffoli said. "I just watched a movie that was playing -- "Silver Linings Playbook." I wasn't really thinking about it a whole lot. I'm just excited to get the opportunity to come here."


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Posted On Saturday, 03.09.2013 / 2:56 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sutter standing behind goaltender Quick

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter continued Saturday to stand behind his star goaltender.

Jonathan Quick allowed four goals in a loss Thursday against the Dallas Stars, but Sutter liked what he saw from Quick when the netminder relieved Jonathan Bernier in a win Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. Quick is expected to start Saturday when the Kings host the Calgary Flames at Staples Center.

Quick has not appeared as sharp as last season, posting a 7-7-2 record and 2.59 goals-against record. His backup, Bernier, is 5-1-0 with a 1.92 GAA.

“He’s got to get the swagger back,” Sutter said of Quick following his team's morning skate. “As well as Bernier’s played, the last guy that’s won us a game is Jonathan Quick. He came off the bench and won us a game. That’s character. That’s character in battle, so that’s a really good thing.”

The Kings held an optional skate but their lineup appears to be the same.

Here is their projected lineup against the Flames:

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Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flames, Ducks

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau mock-winced when asked about his team's profound dominance against the Calgary Flames.

Perhaps it was out of superstition, but Boudreau is aware of the history even though he only has been in Anaheim since 2011. The gist: Anaheim has won 15 straight at home against Calgary, which last won a regular-season game at Honda Center on Jan. 19, 2004.

That breaks down to an 0-10-5 record going into Friday's game. The past eight meetings have been decided by one goal, with two in overtime and three by shootout.

"Every game we play Calgary is a one-goal game, and [with] them finally getting above .500, I think this will be the toughest game of the bunch," Boudreau said.

Here's how the teams could line up Friday:

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Posted On Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 3:43 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Frustrated Doughty still in search of first goal

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Anybody who had Jake Muzzin with four goals and Drew Doughty with zero at the 21-game mark of the season should probably head to the nearest casino.

That's where it stands for Doughty, who is still searching for his first goal going into Thursday, when the Los Angeles Kings play the Dallas Stars.

"It's frustrating, obviously," the defenseman said. "It's in my head too often. I want to get that goal really bad. It's not that I'm cheating or doing anything different to try and get it. I'm still just playing my solid defensive game and if I have that opportunity, I'll try to put one in the net. Yeah, it's frustrating, but the coaches are happy with the way I'm playing. If I don't score a goal and we're winning, it really doesn't matter."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 3:52 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks put Ryan back with Perry, Getzlaf

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks did not do line rushes at their morning skate Wednesday, but coach Bruce Boudreau on Tuesday had Bobby Ryan back on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Boudreau has used Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Daniel Winnik and Emerson Etem in that top-line left-wing spot in what has been a myriad of combinations on almost all four lines.

"We've got to kind of be prepared for everything and he made us well aware of that going into the season," Getzlaf said. "Bruce is a communicator. He lets us know on everything that's going on and he doesn't like to keep things one general way."

Ryan obviously is more than familiar with Getzlaf and Perry considering they formed one of the most potent lines in the League the past few seasons.

"By now we've played with everybody," Getzlaf said. "Generally we play a puck-possession game, so everybody who steps on our line knows that. They've got to come in and work, and we've got to try and work with them."

Here is how the Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes could match up when they meet Wednesday:

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 3:46 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Vrbata could be back for Ducks-Coyotes III

ANAHEIM -- Will the Phoenix Coyotes bring back one of their best offensive pieces to add a twist to the third installment of their trilogy with the Anaheim Ducks?

Coach Dave Tippett said Wednesday that forward Radim Vrbata is close to returning from an upper-body injury that has kept him out since Feb. 16.

"We'll see how things go there," Tippett said. "Vrbata is close. Whether he plays or not, I'm not sure."

What is certain is that the first two games of the unusual three-game series have been Twilight Zone-like similar. Phoenix won both games 5-4 in a shootout, and the eight goals in regulation were scored in the exact same sequence as Anaheim blew leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic