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Posted On Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 4:11 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Ducks

ANAHEIM – Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau had said he was reluctant to rest players for the final stretch of the regular season but he left open that possibility regarding centers Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf.

Getzlaf, like he often does, did not participate in the morning skate in advance of Anaheim’s game Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers. Kesler took Getzlaf’s place on the top line, usually a sign that Kesler, who played Sunday against the New Jersey Devils but is dealing with an arm injury, will sit out.

Boudreau was coy when asked about Kesler being available.

“I don’t know if he’s playing, but he’s good to go,” Boudreau said.

Posted On Friday, 03.20.2015 / 3:32 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- Defenseman Sami Vatanen likely will return to the lineup and goalie Frederik Andersen will start for the Anaheim Ducks when they play the Colorado Avalanche on Friday at Honda Center.

Vatanen has missed 15 games because of a lower-body injury sustained Feb. 15 when his legs hit the boards awkwardly.

"It's been a long four weeks for me sitting there and eating popcorn [for the games]," Vatanen said. "It's a fun time to back in. I think this week I've been feeling really good and I've been ready to play and I'm just waiting my turn to get back in the lineup."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.18.2015 / 3:29 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- It doesn't appear that the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings will have key defensemen in their lineups for the finale of their regular-season series Wednesday at Honda Center (NBCSN, SN, 10:30 p.m.).

Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen skated on the fourth pairing at the morning skate. Coach Bruce Boudreau said Vatanen wasn't ready to come back from a lower-body injury that has kept him out for 14 games.

"When he's ready to play he's going to play," Boudreau said. "This is the time of year that we want to make sure everyone's completely healthy. And he's pretty close to being healthy but I don't know if he's 100 percent. He might be 96 percent. The team we have right now, the defense is playing pretty well. Why take that extra chance? Let's wait until he's ready to play."

Posted On Monday, 03.16.2015 / 4:06 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The Los Angeles Kings will be without center Jarret Stoll for at least one more game.

Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake ruled Stoll out for Monday against the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center. Stoll has an upper-body injury from a hit by Derek Dorsett of the Vancouver Canucks last Thursday and has since not skated as he follows proper protocol.

Asked if it could be a long-term injury, Blake said Sunday, "Hopefully not. It was a hit in the third against Vancouver. You guys saw the hit. You can tell it's an upper-body. The problem is we don't have a timetable for that stuff."

The Kings do not have any spare forwards and have not yet made a recall. Center Mike Richards, demoted to the American Hockey League in January, reportedly is training at the Kings' facility.

Posted On Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 1:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Ducks

The Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks were not expected to skate before they played Sunday at Honda Center.

It is a matchup of the top teams in the Western Conference. The Predators and Ducks have identical 43-20-7 records but Nashville owns the first tiebreaker on more regulation/overtime wins. The Predators defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Saturday, which got them out of 1-7-0 slump in their previous eight games, and they'd like to carry that momentum into the second half of their Southern California trip.

"I'd like to just keep playing the way we're playing," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said after the game Saturday. "The results haven't been there every game for us, and that's been frustrating, but I think the guys have played hard and tonight we were able to get it done."

Posted On Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 4:22 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll will likely miss the game Saturday against the Nashville Predators with an injury, coach Darryl Sutter said.

Sutter didn’t specify the injury, but Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times it was an upper-body injury. Stoll absorbed a hit from center Derek Dorsett of the Vancouver Canucks early in the third period Thursday.

“He didn’t skate [Friday] and he didn’t skate today, so he’s probably not going to be available tonight,” Sutter said before the Kings played the Predators at Staples Center.

Posted On Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 3:47 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Penguins at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings don’t face the Pittsburgh Penguins often, but they don’t have to think hard about the keys to stopping them.

“Their two big stars,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said in reference to Pittsburgh centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin before the Kings played Pittsburgh at Staples Center.

Malkin has six goals and four assists in six career games against Los Angeles, and Crosby has a goal and seven assists in six games against the Kings.

“Special players need special attention like that and you’ve got to be hard on them,” Muzzin said. “Not really give them room. You want to limit their time as best as you can.”

Posted On Friday, 03.06.2015 / 4:10 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Penguins at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- As much as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy wants to think about Friday as just another game, his emotions overwhelm him. It's been five days since Lovejoy was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to Pittsburgh, and it seems too soon when the teams play at Honda Center.

"They're not even memories yet, because it just happened," Lovejoy said. "I can't even say it. Tonight isn't just another game for me. But I hope that once the game starts happening, it will be just like a normal game."

Lovejoy quickly followed that up with, "No, that's not true."

Lovejoy began his NHL career with Pittsburgh in 2008 but never fully established himself and was traded to Anaheim in 2013 for a fifth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Pittsburgh re-acquired him Monday for defenseman Simon Despres.

Posted On Thursday, 03.05.2015 / 3:55 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Los Angeles Kings right wing Trevor Lewis probably wouldn't be the first that comes to mind as far as players to watch against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Staples Center. But Lewis is enjoying a nice ride playing on the top line.

Lewis has benefited from playing with left wing Marian Gaborik and center Anze Kopitar. He had his first three-point game Tuesday, a one-goal, two-assist performance against the Edmonton Oilers. Lewis couldn't really remember his last three-point game.

"Probably in [Manchester of the American Hockey League] or something," Lewis said. "But, yeah, it's fun. I mean, it's a fast pace with them, and I'm enjoying it."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 4:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- Center Brian Flynn and right wing Torrey Mitchell will make their debuts for the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday when they play the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

Mitchell and Flynn skated with left wing Brandon Prust on a new-look fourth line at the morning skate after they were acquired from the Buffalo Sabres prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday. Mitchell and Flynn played on a line together for about half the season.

"For them, it's a plus that they know each other," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "But we went through a lot of things the last two days with those guys, regarding system-wise and the structure. There's a few things that we do a little bit different, and they've got to get used to that, and it's going to take some time."

Mitchell, from Greenfield Park, Quebec, is invigorated by the move to the Eastern Conference's top team and going back to his hometown.

"Anxious, a little nervous and just excited," Mitchell said. "It's going to be a lot of emotions, a lot family and friends watching from home, so hopefully I'll put out a good product."

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