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Posted On Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 3:58 PM

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

Blues insert Cole back in lineup, look at Arnott

LOS ANGELES -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock knows full well what's in store when he plays the Los Angeles Kings: a lot of big bodies flying around.

That's largely why Hitchcock will insert Ian Cole back on defense when St. Louis plays L.A. on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Cole will be needed against some of the Kings' big forwards such as Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown.

"The opponent dictates that," Hitchcock said. "They've got a big lineup and Ian's played OK against them. ... I think just from getting bounced around standpoint, when you play L.A. you're going to get bounced around. You've just got to fight through it.

"They're a big team, but they're a big, smart team. I mean, there's a difference. There's lots of big teams in the League, but they're a big, smart team, which I think makes a big difference."

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Posted On Friday, 03.01.2013 / 3:04 PM

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

Ducks' Souray likely to rest, while Sbisa returns

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau could give defenseman Sheldon Souray a day off when the Ducks host the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

Boudreau earlier this season suggested he would give veteran blueliners Souray and Toni Lydman days off during back-to-back sequences; Anaheim plays at the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.

Souray did not take all of his turns with usual partner Francois Beauchemin at the morning skate, and Ben Lovejoy came off with the regulars. Asked if this might be an occasion to rest 36-year-old Souray, Boudreau said, "It might. I've got to talk to him. But somewhere during this month there's going to be days off for him."

Boudreau said he looks at Souray differently due to Souray's history of injuries.

"You look at him, how his season went last year, you look at him that he is an older player, how many minutes he plays -- all of these things you want to take into account," Boudreau said.

"There's a lot of reasons why you want to keep a guy like him fresh because he's done great for us.”

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 2:55 PM

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

Kings get chance to exact revenge vs. Red Wings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- If a loss can be used as a starting point for a team, the Los Angeles Kings can point directly to their Feb. 10 game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Although they gave up the game-winning goal with five seconds remaining, the Kings played their best game to that point and have since won six of seven, allowing seven total goals in that span. They come full circle Wednesday night when Detroit comes to Staples Center.

What changed in that Feb. 10 game? Jarret Stoll said the Kings got back to better puck movement.

“Whether it’s a 5-, 6-, 8-foot pass to score, moving the puck up the ice is really key instead of having the sloppy pass or the sloppy bobbled puck, and then you’re in one in your own zone,” Stoll said. “A team like Detroit – they can sense that, they can feel that. They’re smart at that. We’ve got to make sure we’re sharp moving the puck, supporting each other.”

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Posted On Monday, 02.25.2013 / 3:42 PM

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

Kings look to deny Fasth a record-tying win

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The puns have already been run into the ground: Quick vs. Fasth. But it’s an intriguing matchup regardless of playful headlines.

Jonathan Quick is expected to square off against counterpart Viktor Fasth when the Los Angeles Kings host the rival Anaheim Ducks on Monday night at Staples Center.

It will be the Kings' first look at Fasth, who at 8-0-0 is trying to match Ray Emery in 2005 for the longest winning streak to start an NHL career. The Ducks beat the Kings, 7-4, in a wild affair Feb. 2, and Jonas Hiller was in net for Anaheim.

For the Kings, there is some unknown element to Fasth outside of game film.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 12:51 PM

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

Projected lineups for Avlanche, Ducks

Here is the projected lineups for a game Sunday between the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center:

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinnMatt Duchene – P.A. Parenteau

Gabriel LandeskogPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Cody McLeodJohn MitchellMilan Hejduk

Aaron PalushajMark OlverChuck Kobasew

Jan HejdaTyson Barrie

Greg ZanonStefan Elliott

Matt Hunwick – Ryan O’Byrne

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Semyon Varlamov

Giguere is expected to start in the second game of a back-to-back sequence. He is 2-1 against the Ducks since he was traded from Anaheim to Toronto on Jan.31, 2010.

Colorado got captain Landeskog back from a head injury Saturday night but lost, 4-1, to the Los Angeles Kings. It is looking for a better game from its top players as McGinn, Duchene and Parenteau were a combined minus-9.

Stastny has only one goal in his past eight games.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 12:43 PM

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

Projected lineups for Avalance, Kings

Here are the projected lineups for a game between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday:

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinnMatt Duchene – P.A. Parenteau

Gabriel LandeskogPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Cody McLeodDavid MitchellMilan Hejduk

Aaron Palushaj – Mark Olver - Chuck Kobasew

Jan HejdaTyson Barrie

Greg ZanonStefan Elliott

Matt Hunwick – Ryan O’Byrne

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratches: Patrick Bordeleau, Shane O’Brien, Michael Sgarbossa

Injured: Steve Downie (knee), Erik Johnson (head), Ryan Wilson (ankle)

Landeskog is expected to return after he missed 11 games with head and leg injuries, the former from a Jan.26 hit by Brad Stuart of the San Jose Sharks.

Hejduk should also return after he had a torso injury Wednesday.

KINGS

Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Trevor LewisMike RichardsJeff Carter

Kyle CliffordColin FraserJordan Nolan

Dwight KingJarret StollDustin Penner

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Keaton EllerbyDavis Drewiske

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

Scratches: Simon Gagne, Brad Richardson, Andrew Campbell

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Alec Martinez (upper body), Willie Mitchell (knee)

Martinez has been skating but has not taken contact yet.

Coach Darryl Sutter earlier this week reunited the Brown-Kopitar-Williams line for the first time since last season. Brown responded with a goal Wednesday against the Calgary Flames to end a seven-game goal-less spell.

Sutter also promoted Lewis to the second line recently as Lewis has a goal and two assists in his past two games.

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 4:14 PM

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

Hiller, not Fasth, likely starting for Ducks vs. Jackets

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks have as good a reason as any to put Viktor Fasth back in goal Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The traditional strategy is not to mess with a streak and go with the hot goalie. Fasth is 8-0-0 and one win away from tying Ray Emery for longest winning streak to begin an NHL career.

But Fasth has played twice in the previous three nights and it appears that Jonas Hiller will return to the lineup now that he’s healthy. Hiller was first off the ice at the morning skate and said he’s back from a lower-body muscle strain that forced him out of his last start Feb. 8.

“I’ve been skating full practices for the last few days and I’ve felt good and never gotten worse,” Hiller said. "I definitely feel comfortable where I’m at.”

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t tip his hand. Hiller served as Fasth’s backup last Saturday even though the club also has Jeff Deslauriers available.

“He’s ready to play – when we decide to play him,” Boudreau said of Hiller.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 4:09 PM

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

Bernier likely to start again in Kings' net

Jonathan Bernier reportedly was the first goalie off the ice at the Los Angeles Kings' morning skate Friday, meaning it's likely Bernier will start against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It would be his first back-to-back starts under coach Darryl Sutter, who talked about the need for better goaltending Thursday.

Jonathan Quick is 1-3-1 in his past five starts and let in some soft goals in his prior start Sunday, including the game-winner in the final seconds against the Detroit Red Wings.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 4:03 PM

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

Johnson happy to return to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- Jack Johnson has played his former team twice in Ohio, but Friday marks his first game at Staples Center since he was traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Columbus Blue Jackets -- close to one year ago, on Feb. 23, 2012.

"It's easy, I know where I'm going," Johnson said.

Johnson wasn't drafted by the Kings but he came up through their organization and was seen, along with Drew Doughty, as a mainstay on the franchise's blue line. He was a fan favorite because of his hard-hitting play and booming shot. Kings fans used to shout an R-rated cheer in his honor.

But Johnson was traded, along with a 2013 first-round draft pick, to the Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter, a move that helped the Kings win the first Stanley Cup in their 45-year history.

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Posted On Friday, 02.15.2013 / 3:40 PM

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

Aucoin returning, will play on Jackets' first D pair

LOS ANGELES -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are without defenseman James Wisniewski, but they will gain another big part of their defense Friday.

Adrian Aucoin will return from a lower-body injury that has kept him out since Jan. 29. Coach Todd Richards confirmed that Aucoin will be paired with Jack Johnson when the team hits the ice against the Los Angeles Kings.

Aucoin, 39, typically doesn't log huge minutes, but Richards likes the intangibles and the stability Aucoin supplies.

"It's Adrian's presence -- his presence out on the ice and his presence in the locker room," Richards said. "I think that really helps our group out."

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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