The Kings practiced at 11:30 a.m. at Toyota Sports Center on Sunday as the Kings prepare for a home-and-home with Vancouver, with a three-day break in between.
The Kings host the Canucks on Monday, have a scheduled off day on Tuesday and then practices on Wednesday and Thursday before flying to Vancouver for their game on March 13.
Prior to the Kings taking the ice, injured forwards Justin Williams and Raitis Ivanans both skated to work on their conditioning while they rehab their injuries.
PURCELL MAKING BEST OF OPPORTUNITY
Forward Teddy Purcell tallied his first NHL game-winning goal on Saturday as the Kings defeated the Wild, 4-3. Purcell’s goal was on the power play, against a very stiff PK, as the Wild entered the game with a league-best 88.1 percentage on the penalty kill, and they had allowed only two goals in 38 short-handed situations over the previous 10 games.
"Against Minnesota, they are not going to give up a lot on the power play, so we have to capitalize on our chances," Purcell said. "Coach always talks about having a shooting mentality and I shot it and it got blocked and I stayed on the puck and followed it and it came right back to me. I think the goalie was caught off guard a bit. It went post and in. It was nice to get rewarded."
The goal extended Purcell’s career-high four-game point streak (2-2=4).
"It is always good when you are producing and when we are winning," Purcell said. "I am feeling more comfortable out there and I am getting a lot of opportunity on the power play. And obviously, playing with Kopi and Brownie obviously helps a lot too. When you are a young guy trying to break in, you just keep working hard."
Purcell has been up and down this year between the Kings and their AHL affiliate in Manchester appearing in 24 games during two separate call ups, after appearing in 10 games with the Kings at the end of last season.
But with the trade of Patrick O’Sullivan and Williams still a few weeks away from making his debut with the Kings, an opportunity in the top-six has opened up for Purcell.
"His other looks were, 'OK, if he grabs this ball in these two games, then great,' but I always seemed to slide him to another position. He ended up being a fourth-line center iceman this year," head coach Terry Murray said of Purcell at practice on Friday. "So this clearly is a critical time of the year, where the push is on still, and it's a great opportunity for him to really step up and show us that he's ready to make the jump and be a player in the NHL.
"He will stay in our top six. I'm a big believer that that's where a player who has that kind of ability need to play in order to show us what he can do.''
Purcell is grateful for the opportunity.
"When you come up, you are happy to be here and you want to contribute anyway you can," Purcell said. "So when you are put on the third or fourth line, you just do what you are told and try and work your hardest and hopefully an opportunity will come. Luckily for me, the opportunity has come now. I have to make the most of this opportunity and keep working hard and moving forward."
The lines that Murray used last night stayed in tact at practice today.
Purcell-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown
Alexander Frolov-Jarret Stoll-Peter Harrold
Michal Handzus-Oscar Moller-Wayne Simmonds
Kyle Calder- Derek Armstrong-Kevin Westgarth
Sean O'Donnell-Drew Doughty
Kyle Quincey-Matt Greene
Jack Johnson-Denis Gauthier
When asked about the line combinations last night after the game, Murray said, "Geez. I am having a real hard time here [finding the right combinations]. I am going to take a look at this game real closely in the video, but I am having a hard time. I am a typical coach, I want more."
Someone who had a little more playing time yesterday, was Harrold, who played a season-high 15:56 (as a forward).
"I try not to read too much into anything, but I guess it means they trust me more at forward and hopefully I keep getting better," he said. "That is all I want to do is get out there and eat up some minutes. We have had a lot of lines this year. Coach is looking for scoring and I think we are starting to get it, starting to come together and make that big push at the end."
Harrold has seen some time on the Kings blueline but also up front, mostly on the Kings third and fourth lines. Last night, he was on the Kings second line with Frolov and Stoll.
"It puts a little more pressure on me in the offensive zone, by my focus is still the same to be responsible defensively in my own zone," he said."That’s huge for us. It starts from our end out.
"We have some skilled, good forwards on this team, I just fill in where they want me and that is the best I can do."
The Kings will be facing a very different Vancouver team then the squad that beat them 4-0 at STAPLES Center on Oct. 30.
The addition of Mats Sundin has bolstered the team’s offense. Sundin has posted 7-9=16 in 23 games with the Canucks, including 1-3=4 over the last three with the game-winning goal vs. San Jose on Saturday night, which was the 12th win in 14 games for Vancouver, but the first over San Jose in eight games dating to April 7, 2007.
Vancouver Depth Chart
Roberto Luongo has posted a 12-3-3 mark in 18 starts since returning from a groin injury on Jan. 15, while the Sedin twins have combined for 122 points in 64 games this season.
The game will mark the return of Jason LaBarbera, who for the season has posted a 7-10-6 mark with a 2.85 GAA and a .899 SV% with the Kings and Canucks. He has posted a 2-2-2 mark with a 2.91 GAA and a .911 SV% since joining Vancouver in a trade with Los Angeles on Dec. 30.
Backing up Luongo, LaBarbera has not appeared in a game since Feb. 13.