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Posted On Friday, 01.13.2012 / 3:00 PM

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

Day after big hit, Kopitar says he's feeling OK

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar said he is OK after he was knocked out of Thursday night's game by Dallas captain Brenden Morrow.

Kopitar spoke briefly to a few reporters after the team's off-ice workout on Friday morning and said he felt good.

Would he have skated if the Kings practiced?

"I feel good so I don't see a reason why not," Kopitar said. "The bottom line is I feel good. I don't have any issues."

Kopitar was sent crashing into the end boards in a spectacular shoulder hit by Morrow with about eight minutes remaining in the third period. He was prone on the ice before he left on his own power although he appeared to favor a shoulder.

The Kings later announced it as an upper-body injury. Kopitar indicated that he was put in a quiet room but that it was all precautionary.

Asked if he thought Kopitar would play on Saturday in Calgary, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, "Assuming we had practice today, he would practice. That's the way I look at it."

Kopitar, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury last March, was thankful to come out of it unharmed.

"It could have been worse, for sure," Kopitar said. "It's something I have to put behind me."
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Posted On Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 3:29 PM

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

Quick earns first All-Star nod

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – What has been known for quite some time became reality Thursday: Jonathan Quick is an All-Star goalie.

Probably the only thing surprising about the announcement is that this is Quick’s first All-Star selection. Quick was informed on the ice during the morning skate.

The only other Kings goalies to earn the honor are Terry Sawchuk, Rogie Vachon and Mario Lessard.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” Quick said. “I’m looking forward to do it at the end of the month. … It’s something I’m looking forward to. It’ll be a great time, a good couple of days. But that’s a couple of weeks away here. We’ve got a lot to do here in the next couple of weeks.”

Quick typically downplayed his selection and repeatedly said his focus is on Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Stars.

It is that focus that has propelled Quick to an outstanding first half.

He entered Thursday ranked in the top five in the NHL with a 1.93 goals-against average and .934 save percentage with a league-leading six shutouts in 35 starts.

That’s even more impressive considering Quick has little margin for error backstopping the worst offense in the NHL. L.A. has averaged just 2.09 goals per game this season.

“He’s had to be on every night,” Matt Greene said. “He can’t have an off night. That’s hard to do with his position when you play as much as he does, and he’s done it for us. If you look around, there’s not a lot of teams that score as much as we do and still be in the playoff hunt. He’s been awesome.”

Quick has been particularly hot under coach Darryl Sutter with a 6-1-2 record, 1.18 GAA and .948 save percentage in his last nine starts (Sutter is 6-1-3 with the Kings).

Prior to coming to L.A., Sutter was mostly aware of Quick through his statistics. But Sutter knows the
background on Quick, 25, a third round draft pick who won the job over the more highly-regarded Jonathan Bernier in the 2008-09 season.

“It’s nice to see,” Sutter said. “A guy that’s come the hard way, paid his dues and he’s having a great season. He should be there.”

Voynov in: Defenseman Slava Voynov will return to the lineup from an upper-body injury, Sutter said.
Voynov gives Los Angeles a much-needed offensive presence, particularly on the power play. Voynov has four goals and six assists with a plus-two rating in 24 games as a rookie.

Alec Martinez will likely be scratched to make room for Voynov.

Sutter’s new home: In an odd anecdote to the coaching change in L.A., Sutter on Tuesday moved in to the residence of former Kings coach Terry Murray.

Asked if Murray showed him how to run the microwave, Sutter quipped, “I’m not very good at any of that stuff.”

Here are the projected lineups:

STARS

Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Radek Dvorak  -Vernon Fiddler
Jake Dowell - Toby Petersen - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Sheldon Souray - Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

KINGS

Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jarret Stoll
Brad Richardson - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Trent Hunter

Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Willie Mitchell - Alec Martinez
Jack Johnson - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 4:00 PM

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

Selanne's latest milestone: 1,300th career game

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It will be the 1,300th game for Teemu Selanne and likely the third goalie in two games for the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.

Selanne will become the fourth active player to reach 1,300 games when the Ducks host the Dallas Stars, putting him in company with Nicklas Lidstrom, Roman Hamrlik and Jaromir Jagr.

Selanne will also become the ninth European-born and second Finnish-born player after Teppo Numminen to do so.

"A couple of guys reminded me today," Selanne said. "There's maybe some money on the board. They don't forget stuff like that."

On a serious note, Selanne has been Anaheim's most productive forward at 41. He leads the Ducks with 39 points and is second with 6 power-play goals.

His balky knee, which has been the major obstacle to continuing his career, has held up. And despite Anaheim's awful season, Selanne said he's still having fun.

"Obviously it has been more frustrating than before, but still that has been my goal to come here every day and enjoy it," he said. "It's easier when you win, but still in the morning when I leave from home I still have a place to come, so that's how it should be and they're happy.

"If you can't stay healthy, you can't have fun and you can't have success either. That's the main thing, just try to stay healthy."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau inherited Selanne when he became coach Nov. 30, but he's followed him throughout his career.

"He sure has done the test of time and deserves everything he gets," Boudreau said. "You guys know as I do, he's a better person than he is a player, and he's a great player. The goals he's gotten, the highlights that I've seen from his younger days, I mean they're still in the top 10s of best goals ever.

"I told him today that Gordie Howe played until he was in his 50s, so I don't see what your problem is."

Hiller out:
Jonas Hiller was not ready to skate two days after he suffered a lower-body injury against Columbus.

Boudreau did not name a starter, but he sounded like it would be Jeff Deslauriers, who came off the ice first after he arrived from the East Coast late Monday night.

Anaheim initially recalled Iiro Tarkki, who was forced into his first NHL game Sunday when Hiller got hurt. Tarkki has had better numbers than Deslauriers in AHL-affiliate Syracuse, but Deslauriers has 58 games of NHL experience.

"I've seen him play great and I've seen him play not so great," Boudreau said. "Let's hope it's the former and more than the latter."

Dallas defenseman Sheldon Souray said a new goalie puts an emphasis on shots.

"It just stresses the important a little more of getting pucks on net and not being to selective," Souray said. "Sometimes young goalies have a tendency to either be a little over-excited or a little nervous or both. Sometimes they try to overplay things, but we've seen it before, too, that they're so amped up that they play great."

Souray in: Souray will return to the lineup after he missed three games with an ankle injury.

"He's going to be a go tonight," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "The decision for us now is seven D. We don't think he's up for the 22-minute mark where he normally is, but if we can get 16 good minutes out of him, a little bit of a play."

Wandell in for Ribeiro:
With Mike Ribeiro out with a knee injury, Jamie Benn will center the first line with Steve Ott and Michael Ryder while Tom Wandell will center the second line with Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson.
Wandell has points in four straight games.

"It's a great opportunity for him," Gulutzan said. "He's going to have to not change his game and keep doing the things that made him successful."

Ribeiro took a knee-on-knee hit from Edmonton's Theo Peckham on Saturday. Gulutzan said an MRI on Ribeiro's knee revealed an MCL tear, but Gulutzan added that Ribeiro has an old MCL tear so that "pollutes the waters a little bit of what's actually there."

"He's limping around, but Ribs thinks he can play. But we have to make sure that he's stable enough that he's not going to get an injury there."
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 3:58 PM

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

Projected lineups for Stars, Ducks

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Dallas Stars visit the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center:

STARS

Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Stephane Robidas - Alex Goligoski
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Sheldon Souray - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

DUCKS

Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Andrew Cogliano - Nick Bonino
Matt Beleskey - Rod Pelley - Kyle Palmieri

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Lubomir Visnovsky - Luca Sbisa
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jeff Deslauriers
Iiro Tarkki
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Posted On Monday, 01.09.2012 / 4:06 PM

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

Capitals' Backstrom, Green return home

LOS ANGELES -- The Capitals sent leading scorer Nicklas Backstrom and defenseman Mike Green back to Washington on Monday morning in a surprise move, given that at least Backstrom was considered closer to returning from a head injury.

Washington coach Dale Hunter didn't offer much explanation after the morning skate. He indicated that neither has suffered a setback.

"Right now there's no sense having them on an all-night flight and you get them home early and get a workout in tomorrow," Hunter said. "They're basically day-to-day. We're being cautious."

Backstrom was elbowed by Rene Bourque last Tuesday. He missed Thursday's game, but resumed practice and was thought to become available. In a reversal, he did not skate over the weekend.

Green left Saturday's game with tightness in his groin and did not skate Sunday. It was only his second game back from a strained groin muscle that forced him out of 23 games.

Hunter said they would decide Monday night on the flight home if Backstrom and Green will skate Tuesday. Asked if he would hold out Backstom against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Hunter said, "It's too early to tell right now. Basically with something like this, basically it's day-to-day."

Key matchup:
Washington's seventh-ranked power play will go up against a Los Angeles Kings' No. 2-ranked penalty-killing unit that has killed 34 straight penalties.

L.A. is also known for low-scoring, tight affairs. Three of its past five games have been decided by 1-0 scores.

"We don't anticipate a 6-5 game," Brooks Laich said. "You look at the scores of the games that they're in, they're pretty tight. There's not going to be a lot of room out there. If we can keep it close, and (get) a power-play goal … we also have talent that can score goals and change a game. If we're in a close game we'll feel pretty comfortable with it."

Bernier to start:
Jonathan Bernier is expected to get a rare start in goal, according to lakingsinsider.com. That's a curveball considering that Jonathan Quick is one of the hottest goalies in the NHL with a 6-1-3 record, 1.18 goals-against average and .955 save percentage over his last 10 games.

How much film of Bernier has Washington seen?

"Not a whole lot," Laich said. "I think they've got two very good goaltenders. We obviously don't see him very much. We'll pre-scout him a little bit tonight, we always do. So we'll see a little bit more of him (on tape) tonight."

Kings shuffle lines:
Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter will likely mix up his lines again after the Kings were shut out for the fifth time this season, a 1-0 loss to Columbus last Saturday.

Mike Richards goes back to his second line center position while Justin Williams has been bumped up to first line right wing in an attempt to spark center Anze Kopitar.

Jarret Stoll goes from his usual center spot to right wing on the third line.
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Posted On Monday, 01.09.2012 / 4:00 PM

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

Projected lineups for Capitals, Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Washington Capitals visit the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center:

CAPITALS

Alexander Semin - Marcus Johnansson - Mike Knuble
Alex Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Mathieu Perrault - Jay Beagle

Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik - Dennis Wideman
John Erskine - Dmitri Orlov

Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth

KINGS
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jarret Stoll
Brad Richardson - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Trent Hunter

Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Jack Johnson - Matt Greene
Willie Mitchell - Alec Martinez

Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Quick
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Posted On Friday, 01.06.2012 / 3:29 PM

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

Boudreau hopes for offense from all-Finland line

ANAHEIM, Calif.-- They have played on Finland’s national team but Niklas Hagman, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne have never been on the same line.

Well, technically, it might have happened for a brief moment.

“It must have been a line change or something,” Hagman said.

That will change when the Anaheim Ducks play host to the New York Islanders on Friday night. Coach Bruce Boudreau indicated that he’ll start with the Finnish line, with an emphasis on “start.”

“The (whole) game? I don’t know,” Boudreau said. “The first period? Yeah. You just have to see how the first period goes, and hopefully it will go well.”

Boudreau has been a mad scientist with his lines while trying to coax some offense out of the Ducks, and this is the latest wrinkle. It also has to do with Jason Blake returning to the lineup recently because Boudreau mentioned he asked too much of Blake in his first game back Wednesday.

Hagman, who has played with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the first line and also on the third line, was looking forward to the possibilities with his countrymen.

“Obviously its two great players,” Hagman said. “Who wouldn’t be excited? We have a lot of great players on our team so it doesn’t matter who they play with. But I’m from Finland and they’re from Finland, so it makes it a little different.”

Hiller likely in: Jonas Hiller did not participate in what was a very optional morning skate for Anaheim.

Boudreau said “I suppose - maybe” when asked if Hiller would be in net and joked that there’s a “59.3 percent” chance Hiller would make his 18th start in the past 20 games.

Evgeni Nabokov will start for the Islanders. He has historically fared well against the Ducks with a 9-3 record, 1.76 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last 12 matchups against Anaheim when he was in San Jose.

Gordon stays up: Andrew Gordon and Matt Smaby cleared waivers Friday morning and Boudreau said Gordon will be in the lineup.

Gordon wasn’t necessarily surprised by the move given their struggles and the fact that the Ducks have one extra forward on their active roster. Gordon has two goals and five points with a minus-10 rating in 36 games.

“The way I tend to approach it is do what I’m told,” Gordon said. “You’re a soldier in this game. You do what you’re told. You come to work when you’re told to come to work.

“No one’s happy about going on waivers. No one’s happy about the prospect of being shipped out of here. We all want to be here. We all want to win.”

Islanders trending upward: Islanders coach Jack Capuano said there won’t be any changes in his lineup, and there’s no argument for it with the Islanders going for their first four-game winning streak since Feb.10-15, 2011.

“(Four wins in a row) would be a big confidence (boost),” Michael Grabner said. “We’re just working our way up to .500. Every game counts for us.”

Capuano liked the resiliency his team showed in their last game against Carolina.

“Even when they scored late, we knew we still had a chance and that’s what we like about our team right now,” he said. “Whatever adversity that we face, we have to bounce back. And you’re going to face adversity during the course of a game, especially against these guys tonight. They got a line that’s going to play 18-20 minutes tonight. It could be one of the best lines in hockey. We’re going to have our troubles with them.”

Disneyland excursion: Grabner and about half a dozen teammates went to Disneyland on Thursday. It was Grabner’s first visit there and he said it was too short.

“The lines were long,” he said. “We were only on Space Mountain, Indiana Jones (Adventure) and Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Brian Rolston - Frans Nielsen - P.A. Parenteau
Michael GrabnerJosh Bailey - Matt Martin
Tim Wallace - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Evgeni Nabokov
Anders Nilsson

DUCKS

Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey - Rod Pelley - Andrew Gordon

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Lubomir Visnovsky - Luca Sbisa
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Dan Ellis
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Posted On Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 4:23 PM

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

Kings trying to establish better home routine

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – One of the goals that Darryl Sutter set upon his hiring as coach of the Los Angeles Kings was to improve at home.

The Kings were 8-9-1 at home before Sutter was hired Dec.20, and they are 3-0-1 under his watch.

Sutter said part of the reason for their home struggles have to do with their game-day routine. The Kings are among the minority of teams that do not practice at their game venue.

L.A. has a practice facility in the South Bay, where most players live. Staples Center is about 35-40 minutes away.

“It’s a big adjustment for young players, quite honest, playing in this environment,” Sutter said. “A big part of it is managing game day. It’s simple. It’s a different routine than 95 percent of NHL teams. They don’t practice game day at the big rink. It has everything to do with what’s going on. It’s a big adjustment – guaranteed. You have only so much control over them in terms of getting them ready. So you have to put a little bit more responsibility on the player.”

Because of this, Sutter has emphasized taking advantage of this five game home stand, which continues Thursday against Phoenix. L.A. then plays nine of its next 14 games on the road.

“To be quite honest, before you can be a consistent good road team for over a period of time you need to be able to take what you do well at home with confidence on the road,” Sutter said. “It’s almost double the responsibility, the accountability on the players’ part which we have as a coaching staff, do a better job helping them.”

Voynov still out: Defenseman Slava Voynov will miss a second game because of an upper-body injury but he is skating.

“He was out there flying,” Sutter said. “He’s feeling better every day. The next step is contact. If he’s pain-free today, hopefully we can take the next step tomorrow.”

Joked Sutter, “He was wearing new skates so his feet hurt. So it’s a lower-body injury.”

Voynov’s absence means another start for Alec Martinez, who otherwise has been scratched under Sutter.

Martinez was a regular under former coach Terry Murray, but Sutter obviously has other plans. It didn’t help that an upper-body injury kept him out for 10 games earlier this season.

“It’s not an easy situation coming into a new job halfway into the season,” Martinez said of Sutter. 
“It’s been, not a whirlwind, but he’s had a lot on his plate and, coming off my injury, I’ve had a lot on my plate. We’ve had some communications but I’m just trying to bring my game and help the team win.”

Sutter’s son recalled: Sutter was informed by a reporter that his son, Brett, was about to be recalled up to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Darryl said he talked to Brett on Wednesday but it in general they don’t discuss hockey.
“I’m his dad,” Darryl said. “That’s more important.”

Smith back: Mike Smith is expected to start in goal. He held the Kings to two goals in each of the October meetings.

Here are the projected lineups:

COYOTES

Mikkel Boeker - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Cal O’Reilly - Radim Vrbata
Patrick O'Sullivan - Kyle Chipchura - Lauri Korpikoski
Paul Bissonette - Marc Antoine-Pouliot - Taylor Pyatt

Keith Yandle - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla - Michal Rozsival

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

KINGS

Mike Richards - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Dustin Penner - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams
Brad Richardson - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Trent Hunter

Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Jack Johnson - Matt Greene
Willie Mitchell - Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.04.2012 / 3:42 PM

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

Blake back for Ducks against Burns, Sharks

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Jason Blake comes full circle Wednesday night when he returns from a 34-game absence against the San Jose Sharks.

Blake suffered a severe laceration on his left forearm Oct.14 when Sharks defenseman Brent Burns accidentally stepped on him. Blake needed corrective surgery but his return comes about two weeks ahead of schedule.

“It feels good. It feels strong,” Blake said. “You never know until you get into a game. Obviously you look back, three months ago … it’s kind of ironic. It’s a been a tough three months sitting out and not being able to play or doing anything for about six weeks there. It’s nice to get back and play hockey and obviously be around the guys.”

After that game, Burns walked out to the ambulance that transported Blake and offered his condolences. Blake appreciated it and has moved on.

“I pretty much forgot about it,” Blake said. “Stuff happens in hockey. You hate to see it happen. I haven’t even thought about that - Brent - and being out. I have the utmost respect for him, even before it happened. He’s a great player. He’s brought a lot to the San Jose Sharks hockey club. I haven’t thought about that.”

Added Burns: “You feel bad when something happens like that. I’m glad he came back. I know he’s been through a lot. Obviously when a guy’s been through a lot like that, there’s something special about him.”

Blake, 38, will resume his spot at second line left wing with Saku Koivu, 37, and the 41-year-old Teemu Selanne.

“It’s the oldest line in pro sports, I know that,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau joked.

Boudreau said he would prefer not to have to play Blake more than 14-15 minutes but “we’ll see how the game goes.”

“The one thing about Jason is that he’s always in tremendous shape,” Boudreau said. “If he’s feeling great and playing great, I’m not going to hold to that.”

New lines: Boudreau put back together the top line of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry after he briefly did the unthinkable and split Getzlaf and Perry on New Year’s Eve against Colorado.

That means that Anaheim will have the same top two lines as in the start of the season. Blake’s return also allows Anaheim to put Niklas Hagman on the third line for more balance.

Hagman had played with Getzlaf and Perry and fared well but he is more suited for this role.

“Now, with everybody healthy, he becomes a solid third-line guy, which is where I think he fits rather than having to force him to be on the first line,” Boudreau said.

Anaheim has San Jose’s number:
Nearly a third of Anaheim’s 10 victories have come against San Jose as the Ducks have surprisingly gone 3-0 against their Pacific Division rivals.

Well, it’s not so surprising given that Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is 5-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average in his last six games against the Sharks. Two of the three meetings this season have been 3-2 victories.

“They’ve been able to get to three and we haven’t,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. “I use that race-to-three all the time. Their goalie has been the first star, I think, in all three matches. He seems to elevate his game against us. So we’ll have to find a way to crack that nut.”

San Jose will start Antti Niemi, who is set to make his 13th straight start. McLellan isn’t concerned about leaning on his No. 1 too much, especially considering that this portion of the schedule allows for it.

“Not one bit,” he said. “He hasn’t played much. We’ve had three days, out of the last 12, completely off. I look around and see (Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan) Quick and Jimmy Howard (of Detroit) and those type of guys excelling the more they play. I think his game has gotten better. You ask me this question in February on a nine-game road trip then I might answer it a little different.”

Here are the projected lineups:

SAN JOSE

Benn Ferriero - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Patrick Marleau
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester - Andrew Desjardins - Andrew Murray

Douglas Murray - Justin Braun
Dan Boyle - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Jason Demers - Brent Burns

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

ANAHEIM

Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Jason Blake - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Matt Beleskey - Andrew Cogliano - Niklas Hagman
Nick Bonino - Rod Pelley - Andrew Gordon

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Lubomir Visnovsky - Luca Sbisa
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Dan Ellis
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Posted On Monday, 01.02.2012 / 3:58 PM

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

Mike Richards adjusting to life on the wing

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- One the main benefits of acquiring Mike Richards for the Los Angeles Kings was that it would make them one of the deepest teams in the NHL down the middle.

L.A. can boast Richards, Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll centering its top three lines.

But it has veered from that script.

Not only is Richards no longer playing center, he's paired with Kopitar on the top line with Dustin Brown. Coach Darryl Sutter put Richards at left wing last Saturday and is expected to stick with it for Monday's game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Richards played wing during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The only drawback is that L.A. doesn't get to use Richards as much on faceoffs.

"The biggest thing for adjustment is being at the right place on the ice," Richards said. "Right from the beginning I was over-thinking things, and when you do that you're a second late. But as the game went on, I felt more comfortable up there. I wasn't (over) thinking, I was just reacting."

Richards said playing wing wasn't broached upon his trade to L.A.

"To me, it doesn't matter where I play," he said. "Obviously I'm comfortable at center, but … it just takes a little bit to get your positioning on the ice. A couple of plays happened in (Saturday's) game where it was a lot different with the board battles, but you get used it after a period, two periods max."

Voynov out: Defenseman Slava Voynov will miss tonight's game after he got "banged up" in each of the previous two games, Sutter said.

Alec Martinez is expected to take his place. Martinez has been a scratch in all six games under Sutter.

Gagne (non) update:
Simon Gagne might see a doctor on Monday night, Sutter said, but there is otherwise not update.

Sutter confirmed for the first time Monday that Gagne has a concussion. Monday marked one week since Gagne suffered the injury, against Phoenix.

"He's got a concussion," Sutter said. "There's progress. It's not really a daily thing."

Los Angeles is prepared for Gagne to be out for an extended period. Gagne is believed to have suffered three concussions in a five-month span in the 2007-08 season.

"Players like Gagne who have had an issue with it, it becomes even more of an issue," Sutter said. "There's no way of telling. I really do think one of the worst things you can do is keep asking about it. It's a negative. A lot of it is just feeling better about yourself, and then you feel better."

Richards-Gretzky connection: Richards had an indirect tie to the Kings as a kid because his mother, Irene, was a big Wayne Gretzky fan during the Gretzky era in L.A.

"When he broke (one of Gordie Howe's records), she actually woke me up, and my brothers, and we got up and actually watched the rest of the game," Richards said.
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Quote of the Day

It's such a privilege to be one of these 80 great players to do this milestone, and it doesn't get better than this doing it where I started. It means a lot to me. A big thanks goes to all the players tonight who helped me to achieve that and also all the players through my career.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa
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