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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."

Posted On Friday, 02.27.2015 / 3:32 PM

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

At the Rink: Kings at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Andrej Sekera has little time to get to know his new teammates before being thrown into a big rivalry game, but he's ready for the challenge.

Sekera will make his Kings debut Friday against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. The teams have developed a healthy disdain for each other since the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it's usually a mixed fan base in Anaheim's building.

"I heard about it and I'm looking forward to it, it should be exciting," Sekera said.

Pressed more about what he's heard, Sekera said, "It's a rivalry game, with a full house."

Posted On Thursday, 02.26.2015 / 4:40 PM

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

At the Rink: Senators at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Newly acquired defenseman Andrej Sekera wasn't able to participate in the Los Angeles Kings morning skate but he is expected to be available to make his Kings debut when they play the Ottawa Senators at Staples Center on Thursday.

Coach Darryl Sutter said they were waiting for Sekera to get medical clearance, and Sekera was not yet available to reporters. The move is seen as another shrewd pre-NHL Trade Deadline move by general manager Dean Lombardi, this time to get a skilled puck mover who can take some pressure off of defenseman Drew Doughty, who leads the NHL in average ice time (29:27).

"I think he's very mobile," Sutter said. "He's played a little bit both sides. He's familiar with some of our players. They know his character. He's a good addition."

Posted On Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 3:49 PM

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

At the Rink: Red Wings at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg said Tuesday that he isn't sure when he can return from an upper-body injury. He will miss his second straight game when Detroit plays the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

Zetterberg left the game last Saturday after he was punched in the head by Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. He said he has headaches but didn't say he sustained a concussion.

Zetterberg is tied with Pavel Datsyuk for the Red Wings lead with 49 points.

"I have some symptoms that I don't have when I'm 100 percent," Zetterberg said. "Until those symptoms go away, we've just got to take it easy."

Posted On Monday, 02.23.2015 / 4:06 PM

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

At the Rink: Red Wings at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks goalie situation further unfolded Monday, but John Gibson will make his sixth straight start when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Honda Center.

Frederik Andersen, the No. 1 goalie most of the season, remains out with a neck injury. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said he thought later this week might be realistic for Andersen to return, but Andersen downplayed any kind of timetable. Andersen said he needs to get his conditioning back up to speed. He has been out since Feb. 8, when the goal apparatus fell on him.

"It's tough to say," Andersen said. "It's really a day-by-day thing. We can't really predict how I'm going to feel tomorrow or Wednesday. But yeah, for sure, I'd rather be out there sooner than that, but we can't predict the future."

Andersen said he wants to get himself right for the long run, specifically the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"If I look back on my career in 15 years, I don't think I'm going to be disappointed that I took another week or two, but it's about taking the right steps," he said.

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