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Posted On Friday, 03.22.2013 / 3:13 PM

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

Ducks get Perry back from suspension

ANAHEIM -- Corey Perry watched his Anaheim Ducks play the Chicago Blackhawks from the locker room Wednesday and he acknowledged it wasn't the greatest feeling.

"It was tough," Perry said. "The best team in the League -- obviously you want to be out there helping your team win."

Perry returns Friday against the Detroit Red Wings after a four-game suspension resulting from his hit on Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild. The fourth game happened to be the biggest regular season game in recent franchise history. But the Ducks pulled out a 4-2 win to go 3-0-1 without the former Hart Trophy winner.

It also will be Perry's first game since he signed an eight-year, $69 million contract extension. Longtime linemate Ryan Getzlaf said, "Anytime he's been out for any length of time he's come back and made a statement. We're looking forward to tonight" against the Red Wings.

Posted On Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 3:28 PM

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

Nolan likely to return to lineup for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – With a dominant home stand and a three-game winning streak, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter would seem to have little reason to change his lineup.

Signs at the morning skate Thursday pointed to a minor tweak though as it appears that rookie Tyler Toffoli will be scratched in favor of Jordan Nolan. The Kings did not do line rushes but Nolan came off the ice with the regulars and Toffoli stayed out with the extras.

Sutter recently had a pointed critique of Nolan, while the puck has found Toffoli often in his first three National Hockey League games. But Sutter could want Nolan's size as the Kings try to avenge their last home loss, to the Dallas Stars on March 7.

Sutter typically guards his lineup information as if it's a national security threat. He's liked the recent play of Dustin Penner and could move Penner back up in Toffoli's spot on the second line, although Sutter was begrudging when asked about Penner's compete level.

"I think it depends on who we're playing and who we play guys against," Sutter said. "That's the advantage of playing at home. You can try and match guys up, and if they're prepared for that challenge, then we like it."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 3:30 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.19.2013 / 2:43 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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.

Posted On Monday, 03.18.2013 / 3:30 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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.

Posted On Saturday, 03.16.2013 / 2:51 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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."

Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 2:56 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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."

Posted On Saturday, 03.09.2013 / 2:56 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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:

Posted On Friday, 03.08.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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:

Posted On Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 3:43 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 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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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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