RALEIGH, N.C. -
|Could Erik Ersberg make his first start since Oct. 14?
After 12 games, is Terry Murray ready to go back to Erik Ersberg?
Murray said after practice Tuesday that he’s considering making a couple lineup changes for Wednesday’s game against Carolina, including the starting goaltender.
"We might need a little fresher look in a couple of spots, just to reinvigorate ourselves as we get this road trip underway," Murray said. "But I’m going to think about it. … I’m going to just reevaluate the goaltending today too."
Ersberg hasn’t played since Oct. 14, when he allowed four goals on 21 shots in a loss to the New York Rangers. After that game, Murray said he regretted starting Ersberg and said he had "erased" his previously penciled-in goaltending schedule.
That meant Jonathan Quick would play for the foreseeable future, and play he has, with 12 consecutive starts. Quick has a respectable 2.69 goals-against average, and his 17 starts this season are tied for the NHL lead, but Murray hasn’t exactly been glowing in his praise of Quick’s recent efforts.
Quick has allowed at least three goals in three of his last four starts, including four goals (on 29 shots) in Monday’s 4-1 loss to Chicago. While Murray also bemoaned his forwards’ inability to capitalize on early scoring chances, and noted that Quick made a couple "spectacular" saves, he also didn’t hesitate to criticize Quick’s game.
"There’s always that goal that you’d like to have back," Murray said. "I would like to have the first one back. I’d like to have the second one back."
Quick spent significant time on the ice with goalie coach Bill Ranford after practice ended. If Ersberg gets in, he will be trying for his first victory since Dec. 13 of last year, against Minnesota. He has an 0-7-2 record since then.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi recently said that Ersberg’s practices have improved of late, after a stretch during which Lombardi perceived a lack of intensity in Ersberg’s game.
"I feel good in practice," Ersberg said. "I felt good today, and I’m just trying to work hard. I try to do some stuff that can be used in a game, not just taking shots. That’s the hard part, getting ready for those situations. You always get shots, but I’m really excited to get back in there."
TIME FOR JONES?
Randy Jones, claimed off waivers by the Kings from Philadelphia on Oct. 29, has been a healthy scratch in the last five games, but Murray indicated that he might be ready to give Jones a look on defense in tomorrow’s game against the Hurricanes.
"It's not a matter of comfort," Murray said "I know Jonesy very well, from the Flyers. I feel very comfortable with how he can play and what he can do. It's a matter of getting him into the NHL conditioning again. His summer was spent rehabbing a surgery."
"He's getting close. He certainly has got to get some consideration here for tomorrow."
Jones spent much of the summer doing rehab work after hip surgery in May.
Murray did not indicate which defenseman would come out of the lineup if Jones played.
NEED MORE POWER
It’s not simply that the Kings haven’t been scoring many power-play goals of late. It’s that they’re also not getting many chances to score on the power play.
The Kings are 1 for their last 15 on the power play, but the second number might be more problematic for the Kings than the first. IN their last six games, the Kings, respectively, have had only 2, 3, 1, 3, 4 and 2 power-play chances. The only power-play goal in that stretch was scored by Dustin Brown on Saturday against Nashville.
The drought is a recent development, since the Kings entered Tuesday ranked No. 6 in the NHL in most power-play chances, with 74 chances in 18 games.
"The lack of chances bothers me more than the lack of the actual goals," Murray said. "You can have a great power play and have it moving around and get a great number of scoring chances, and you're saying, `Guys, just keep doing it.' You reinforce the positive, it's going to happen. You might be up against some hot goaltenders in some stretch of games, or you're just not getting the job done at the end of the day.
"But when you're not generating good offensive-zone time, not generating shots at the net and your attitude has changed, then that's a concern. I think we've got in that second category a few times recently. We just need to get more offensive-zone time established and get back to keeping it simple, getting pucks to the net and that net presence.
"The ever-ready cliche of net presence is so important. We seem to just get away from that part of it a little bit. When goaltenders are seeing the puck, in this league, from above the top of the circles, they're going to stop it."
TV CHANGE FOR KINGS
The Kings have made two changes to their TV broadcast schedule:
The game on November 21 vs. Calgary at STAPLES Center (1 p.m. start) will now be broadcast on FS West (changed from Prime Ticket).
The game on March 14 vs. Nashville at STAPLES Center (Noon start) will now be broadcast on FS West (changed from Prime Ticket)...more