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Posted On Friday, 05.17.2013 / 6:12 PM

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

Kings looking to improve on road

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It was easy for the Los Angeles Kings to joke and shrug off a dangerous-looking facial injury to Anze Kopitar a day later.

Kopitar said he needed about 20 stitches to close a cut near his mouth after he was hit by the puck on a shot by teammate Dustin Brown in the third period of Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series Thursday night.

"There goes the modeling career," coach Darryl Sutter joked. "Best looking Slovenian athlete."

Informed of Sutter's comment, Kopitar said, "I think that ship has sailed long time ago."

Kopitar returned to the "Rocky" theme song at Staples Center, and the Kings delivered one of the franchise's greatest comeback wins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they erased a 3-2 deficit in the final two minutes for a 4-3 win against the San Jose Sharks.

Modeling jokes aside, the Kings must put on a serious face as the best-of-7 series moves to HP Pavilion for Games 3 and 4. L.A. leads, 2-0, but it is somewhat misleading given it was largely outplayed in both games.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 3:41 PM

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

No Torres, Stoll means line shifting for Sharks, Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Joe Pavelski will take Raffi Torres' spot, at least at the start, when the San Jose Sharks play the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series Thursday night.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan also moved Scott Gomez up to third-line center and will insert Tim Kennedy on the fourth line. Torres faced an NHL hearing in New York on Thursday for his hit on Jarret Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings and will not be available.

"We discussed a lot of different options, and I don't know if this is written in stone by an means," McLellan said after the morning skate. "We've got to start somewhere and see where it goes. The majority of their scoring from the Kings have come from their top two lines -- eight of their 14 [goals]. The odds are that they're going to continue to have an impact in games going forward.

"We like [Pavelski] there, we think he's a responsible two-way guy, and he has an ability to help out in the faceoff circle against a [Anze] Kopitar or a [Mike] Richards for the most part, so we think that's important."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 6:31 PM

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

Richardson will take Stoll's place for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Lost in the wonder of the Los Angeles Kings’ stomp through the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was how healthy they stayed. Los Angeles basically used the same lineup, with the exception of injured Kyle Clifford.

This season is entirely different, and the latest adjustment will be the absence of Jarret Stoll after he was knocked out of Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal series Tuesday night.

San Jose Sharks Raffi Torres delivered the hit and was scheduled for a hearing with the NHL.

Stoll presumably has an upper-body injury, and coach Darryl Sutter said Wednesday, "He’s missing in action” and day-to-day. Asked if it’s a long-term injury, Sutter said, “How long is the series?”

Game 2 is Thursday at Staples Center, and Game 7 is scheduled for May 28. The Kings lead 1-0 after a 2-0 win in Game 1.

Torres hit Stoll at the end of the second period. Stoll did not return to the game, and Torres received a charging penalty.

Sutter said, “I thought [the hit] was careless” and wouldn’t comment on if he thought it was a suspendable offense.

“Who are we to even talk about that stuff?" Sutter said. "Totally leave it to the League and principals to look at those things. It’s just frustrating to see that, that’s all.”

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 5:11 PM

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

Kings happy with rare home-ice advantage

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The sexy Southern California matchup dissipated into the warm air here, but the Los Angeles Kings still will have their hands full with an in-state divisional rival.

The Kings gathered at their practice facility with an opponent and a date: Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks is Tuesday at Staples Center.

The alternative would have been playing an epic inaugural Stanley Cup Playoff series against the rival Anaheim Ducks.

"I would have liked to have played the Ducks," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "I think we match up well with them, and it would have been good for California to have that rivalry because everyone kind of makes that rivalry so big around California. But to us, we haven't really had to battle with them like a playoff series so I think a playoff series would have made that rivalry a lot deeper."

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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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Quote of the Day

He scores 50 goals, they go in, they go in, and they go in. And I think, 'Why can't I do that?'

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on teammate Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 win vs. the Hurricanes