The Kings held practice today at Toyota Sports Center from 10-11 a.m. and will take an 8 p.m. bus ride to Anaheim to face the Ducks tomorrow at 7:05 p.m., the first of a home-and-home vs. the Kings Southern California rivals. The Kings will host Anaheim on Thursday at STAPLES Center at 7:30 p.m.
This is a new procedure for the Kings in 2008-09, as in years past, the Kings would hold their morning gameday skate at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo and then bus to Anaheim for the game that evening. Now they get in to Orange County the night before and have the morning skate in Anaheim.
Head coach Terry Murray spoke of this change to the schedule to LAKings.com saying that he wanted the road games to feel like road games.
KINGS FACE ANAHEIM IN 'HOME AND HOME'
The Kings are 1-1-1 on the season vs. the Ducks, and have not scored since 18:48 of the third period on Oct. 14, when Alexander Frolov lit the lamp in a 6-3 Kings win. Since then, the Kings have gone 121:52 without scoring against Anaheim, falling 1-0 in OT on Nov. 4 and 2-0 on Nov. 16. Interesting, that Oct. 14 Kings win over the Ducks, up until the Kings 2-1 win over the Flyers on Saturday night, was the Kings only win in which the opposing team scored first.
The Ducks will be without Cory Perry, currently serving a four-game suspension for elbowing, for both games against the Kings this week, while already playing without the services of Teemu Selanne, who is out four-to-six weeks after suffering a deep cut to his left quad on Dec. 19.
"It comes at a good time for us, if it was going to happen for any four games, it is beneficial for us that we get them twice while he is out," Kings defenseman and former Duck Sean O'Donnell said. "He is up with the league leaders in goals. When I was there, it would be him and [Ryan] Getzlaf together and a lucky left winger. He is a big part of that duo and we need to try and take advantage of his absence.
"A little bit of their fire power is gone, but they still have a lot of dangerous weapons."
The Ducks are 20-15-5 for 45 points, good for second in the Pacific Division and sixth overall in the West. Los Angeles, meanwhile, at 16-16-6, for 38 points, are fifth in the Pacific and 13th overall in the Western Conference, just three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
"There are four points out there vs. Anaheim. If we were to sweep, we would be right there with them as far as points and if they were to sweep, we would have a hard time catching them again. These are big games. Having the sixth and seventh seeds so close to the 13th and 14th seed (eight points separate 14th-place Nashville and sixth-place Anaheim), you could win four games and move from 12th to seventh or lose four games and drop from sixth to 10th.
"We would like to get a nice little roll here going into the all-star break."
QUICK TO START
Jonathan Quick is expected to start vs. the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. In his last five appearances, Jonathan Quick is 3-2-0 with two shutouts, a 0.80 goals-against average (4 GA in 301:52) and a .970 save percentage (128 saves in 132 shots). Overall Quick has stopped 165 of 175 shots in seven appearances (.943 save percentage) since his call-up from Manchester on Dec. 16.
"He has been great," O'Donnell said. "He has come in and played five or six games now and after that first game, which was in Detroit, and that is a tough place to play and I think we let him down in the third period, but since then I think he has only give up a couple of goals and less than two in each start. All you want from your goalie is to make the stops you are supposed to make and give your team a chance to win. Making the unbelievable saves that he has been making is just a bonus."
WIN 'PHILS' GOOD TO GAUTHIER
As documented here on LAKings.com, there was quite a few former Flyers players and staff currently with the Kings. One of them, Denis Gauthier was really amped up to play his former team.
"I wanted that game bad. I have been counting the days till that game," Gauthier said.. "I was pretty happy with the results. There is no animosity with the guys, it was just about where I was and what I went through that made that win that much more enjoyable."
Gauthier, last season, did not appear in a game with the Flyers, playing for their AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms. He had played 60 games with the Flyers over parts of the two previous seasons after being acquired by Philadelphia at the 2006 trade deadline. But was the odd-man out last season in Philadelphia and sent to the AHL.
His trade to Los Angeles gave him a new opportunity. Playing Philadelphia on Saturday was just a bonus.
"I was nervous and excited and had to calm myself down. Sometimes when you are in a situation like that, you try and do too much and get out of your game."
Gauthier played 13:51 and finished even but dished out three hits in the Kings 2-1 shootout win over the Flyers.
With the win over Philadelphia, the Kings are now 2-4 in shootouts this season. Patrick O'Sullivan and Brown both scored on the shootout tonight, the Kings entered the evening having converted on 3-for-15 attempts this season. O'Sullivan leads the team with two shootout goals this season, while Alexander Frolov and Wayne Simmonds have also converted. Quick earned the win in his first shootout, stopping both attempts.
"We practice once or twice a week and do some penalty shots and let the guys work on their moves and the goalies on different ways to stop the players moves," Quick said of the Kings shootout practices. "Some guys have good hands and you know that going into it and some guys have a good shot and you know that going into it. You just look out for that.
"At the same time, they could do something different, you never know."
The Kings netminders have now stopped 7-of-16 shootout attempts. Click here for a look at the Kings shootout history.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Right wing Trevor Lewis (8-14=22) leads the Monarchs in points and ranks second on the Monarchs in goals (eight). He was recalled by the Kings on Dec. 18 and made his NHL debut against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, Dec. 19 and scored his first NHL goal against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 20. Lewis had three points (1-2=3), zero penalty minutes and a zero plus/minus rating in five games with the Kings this season. Lewis was reassigned to Manchester on Tuesday, Dec. 30 and has collected three assists in the two games he’s played in since his return...Goaltender Jonathan Bernier has started the last eight of nine Monarchs games and collected four consecutive wins. The rookie netminder is 4-3-0-1 in those eight contests. In 22 games this season with the Monarchs, Bernier is 10-9-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.66 and a .902 save-percentage...Rookie defenseman Alec Martinez has 10 points (4-6=10) in 31 games thus far this season, including five points (2-3=5) in his last six games. Martinez scored with 42 seconds remaining in Friday’s game against the Springfield Falcons to push overtime and the eventual nine-round shootout. Manchester fell 3-2 in the shootout to the Falcons.