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Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 4:13 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Hiller returns to goal for Ducks after 'mental rest'

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks will go back to goaltender Jonas Hiller Friday against the Nashville Predators.

It wasn't much of a surprise given Hiller has had three games off, but there was some thought the Ducks might continue to ride rookie backup Frederik Andersen, who went 3-0-0 in place of Hiller and is 19-5-0.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau wanted to give Hiller time off and felt he was ready after a high-energy practice Thursday.

"We were thinking that he just needed a mental rest, not a physical rest," Boudreau said. "He'll be back in. He's been very sharp in practice the last two games. We're expecting a big game from him tonight."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 3:13 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings a win away from clinching playoff spot

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Anze Kopitar said he wasn't aware that his Los Angeles Kings could clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes. The center was informed by a reporter at the morning skate, and it was welcome news.

"It will be one goal that we've accomplished," Kopitar said. "I think we've been in that third spot in our division forever. It really was, pretty much, the whole season. But it's nice to have fate in your own hands with a win [Wednesday] and put everything away, all the calculations. It's a division game, which is obviously huge. We know them. They know us. So I'm sure they're going to be fired up."

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings' Greene doing whatever he can to support team

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene is an alternate captain and is known as one of the team's toughest players, a stubborn penalty killer and a big body.

But the Kings haven't had any room in the lineup for him lately, and the veteran understands.

"You always want to play," Greene said. "You always want to play and be out there. Right now we're winning games and you can't complain about that."

Greene has been a healthy scratch in 14 of the past 15 games as defenseman Alec Martinez has ably filled a spot on the third defense pairing. It wasn't certain if Greene would play Monday against the Minnesota Wild (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN); there were no extra skaters at the morning skate. Greene's next game will be the 500th of his career.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Defenseman Martinez finding offense with Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez is living proof that consistent playing time can help a player find their rhythm.

He has been a regular part of the Kings' lineup since the 2014 Sochi Olympics, collecting six goals and five assists in 13 games going into Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center.

Martinez's 10 goals are one fewer than forwards Mike Richards and Tyler Toffoli.

"I think I've been able to get into a rhythm," Martinez said. "It's like in anything in life, especially as an athlete, you get into a rhythm of playing in games. When you're in and out of the lineup sometimes, it's the little plays that are hard … those are the ones that make the difference."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:54 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Robidas to make Ducks debut vs. Capitals

ANAHEIM -- Stephane Robidas has played 871 regular-season games in the NHL, but he'll have some butterflies for No. 872.

The defenseman is expected to make his Anaheim Ducks debut Tuesday against the Washington Capitals at Honda Center. Robidas was partnered with Bryan Allen in the morning skate.

"I think the main thing is [that] I've got to keep everything really simple," Robidas said. "It's a new team for me. It's the first time in a while, so there's a lot of things going on for me [Tuesday]. But I'm very excited. I've been waiting for that moment for a long time. I'm a little nervous, but at the same time I'm excited, so it's good."

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Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 3:13 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Greene to return to Kings' lineup against Coyotes

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Two straight one-goal losses have prompted the Los Angeles Kings to tweak their lineup.

It appears that defenseman Matt Greene will be inserted Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes (10:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-CA). Greene came off with the regulars at the morning skate while defenseman Jake Muzzin stayed out as an extra with captain Dustin Brown, although Muzzin took rushes with usual partner Drew Doughty and others.

Greene has been scratched in eight straight games and last played Feb. 26 as coach Darryl Sutter opted for the more offensive-minded Alec Martinez. Greene would give Los Angeles another physical element and another player to use on the penalty kill.

Muzzin has struggled with consistency and had at least one costly lapse Saturday when Anaheim Ducks forward Matt Beleskey spun past him to begin a possession that led to a goal in a 2-1 loss.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:27 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings prepare to face ex-teammate Bernier

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings used to have the luxury of a legitimate No.1 goalie as a backup to Jonathan Quick. On Thursday night, they will see that goalie at the other end of the ice.

Jonathan Bernier is expected to make his first appearance at Staples Center since he was traded from the Kings to the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer.

"I think anytime you play a team that you previously played for -- I never experienced it, but the type of environment coming back [is intense]," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "The best example is probably [Robyn Regehr returning to Calgary] a couple of weeks ago. It's always extra motivation for those guys."

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Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:17 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maple Leafs' Holland gets first crack at facing Ducks

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks couldn't wait any longer for Peter Holland to grab hold of a center position in their lineup. Now they will get an up-close look how he has progressed.

Holland will play Anaheim on Monday night at Honda Center for the first time since the Ducks traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 16. He was the 15th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, but Holland couldn't carve out a spot in Anaheim's lineup after numerous training camps to prove he belonged there.

The Ducks were also deep at center, which didn't help, but Holland understands and looks forward to the game.

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 3:06 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks' Getzlaf ready for rare visit by Crosby, Penguins

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf smiled because he knew the questions were coming about playing against Sidney Crosby, his teammate with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will make a rare appearance at Honda Center on Friday to face Getzlaf's Anaheim Ducks. Crosby has come here three times previously, but not since 2010.

So what about facing that Crosby kid?

"How did I know that question was coming?" Getzlaf said. "Any time we're playing an opponent from the East we want to send a message that we can compete in both [conferences]. I think that Sid and the Penguins bring a big test in our building and we're excited about it, for sure."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 4:43 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Tokarski gets call in goal for Canadiens vs. Ducks

ANAHEIM -- A huge scrum surrounded Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski at his locker before a media relations official announced that he wouldn't be speaking.

It was quite a surprise that Montreal will give Tokarski his first start as a Canadien, and eighth of his career, Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks. But Peter Budaj started the previous four games and Montreal plays the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.

"We ask a lot of Peter Budaj," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We play and we're traveling – a lot of hockey in a short period of time. We've got back-to-back. We figure that was the right time to put the kid there. What I'm expecting [is] that [our] players [are] going to play a hard-nosed team because we play the Ducks tonight. This is the best team in the League, and [we need] to make sure they give a good effort for the young kid in net tonight."

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