EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings
forward Jeff Carter
all but pronounced himself ready to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Vancouver on Wednesday.
Carter is recovering from a bone bruise in his right foot. He has taken turns skating with usual linemate Mike Richards
the past two days.
"It felt better today," Carter said. "I think it takes a little bit to kind of warm up, but once I get going it's doing pretty good."
In a bit of playoff posturing, L.A. coach Darryl Sutter
was coy Monday and said Carter has "a ways to go," but Carter said Tuesday he doesn't think he has to sell Sutter on returning.
"It doesn't seem like it," Carter said. "I feel like I'm getting better and I feel like I can contribute."
Carter had said last week he expected to be ready for the postseason.
Sutter joked about the secretive nature of injury updates from teams at this time of year. Told that Daniel Sedin
of Vancouver didn't skate Tuesday, Sutter said, "Well, them guys are playing games with us, right? We shouldn't have had Carter practice and I could say, 'He's not traveling.'"
Sutter is preparing for a Vancouver team with Daniel and Henrik Sedin
"Absolutely," he said. "Sedin, Sedin, [Alexandre] Burrows."
Kopitar and Williams healthy:
This was not the best time of year last season for Anze Kopitar
and Justin Williams
. Kopitar had a season-ending leg injury March 27 and Williams dislocated his shoulder March 21.
Williams opted to rehabilitate it rather than have surgery, and he came back for the opening round wearing a protective harness.
In contrast, Kopitar and Williams have been two of the Kings' most productive forwards late this season. Kopitar had eight goals and 17 assists in his final 20 games. Williams had only 10 goals in his first 51 games, but 10 goals and nine assists over his final 21 games.
"Later in the season, you're more comfortable, you're in better shape," Williams said. "Especially playing all the games this year -- that was extremely helpful not having a break, being able to continue to get better and I think your speed picks up.
"When you're able to play all the games and you're able to try and get better every time, it's certainly a lot easier, whereas if you have an injury, you got to come back and you're constantly fighting ups and downs."
Kopitar watched last season's quarterfinal loss from the press box and didn't spend much time around the team. It's been two years since he last played a playoff game.
"It's just as exciting," Kopitar said. "I've been ready for it."
's line with Kopitar and Williams is expected to be back together, and it has been by far the Kings' best lately.
"We just found our stride and caught fire at the right time," Kopitar said. "Mid-March and all the way through it was a must-win for us every game, so that's probably a good thing going into the playoffs right now because a seven-game series can be over pretty quick."
Sutter on pre-game anthems:
Sutter was asked if he will get nervous behind the bench during the national anthems before Game 1, and he referenced the singers at Staples Center that are known for their long renditions.
"They sing both them songs, so they're both good," Sutter said. "You get an extra minute-and-a-half. The only difference in Los Angeles is sometimes when they sing the song, they take three-and-a-half minutes."