EL SEGUNDO --
Starting with Wednesday’s game against Carolina at STAPLES Center, the Kings face seven games in 11 days. Keeping players fresh will be imperative.
To that end, coach Terry Murray said Tuesday that he will make a few lineup changes for Wednesday’s game. Kyle Clifford
and Trevor Lewis
will join the lineup as fourth-line wingers, in place of Brayden Schenn and Kevin Westgarth
, previously the fourth-line left winger, will move to center, and all of them will be playing in support of Jonathan Bernier
, who will start in goal.
Schenn, a 19-year-old rookie, earned rave reviews for his first two games, when he averaged 14-plus minutes and totaled seven shots on goal, but Schenn’s ice time dropped to 9:35 and 7:06, respectively, in the last two games.
"On the D-zone coverage part of things," Murray said when asked where Schenn’s game needed improvement. ``What happens in this situation is, you come back after a penalty kill -- and this is exactly what I told him -- you come back after a penalty kill, and he's in the middle with whomever I put him out with on the wings, and you end up against the Sedins [Daniel and Henrik, of the Canucks].
"They're coming right back with their top line. Now you're looking at the MVP of the game last year, and they can expose a lot of players. They recognize a young player, and there were some situations there that we need to address and get him to close faster and be more firm in those situations."
Westgarth, the Kings enforcer, played only 2:10 in Friday’s win over Vancouver.
In their place go Clifford, a rookie who played in the first two games but was a healthy scratch from the next two, and Lewis, who has yet to appear in a game this season.
Lewis, a 2006 first-round pick, made the Kings’ roster out of training camp last year, and had one goal and two assists in 11 games but spent most of the season in the AHL.
"I want to get Lewis into a game. Coming out of the training camp, he's been sitting there patiently, waiting to get going," Murray said. "You have young players who have gone through the summer and the training camp and put in a great amount of work and had real good camps, so I want to give them an opportunity. Same thing with Clifford."
In goal, Murray is following his stated plan to get Bernier in a game approximately once a week. Jonathan Quick
has started three of the Kings’ first four games, and is scheduled to be back in goal when the Kings play at Phoenix on Thursday.
"The way I looked at it, in the early part, when I penciled these games in on the goaltending side of it," Murray said, "is that I look at our No. 1 goaltender, Quick, being the goalie that I want to have in division games."
The Kings face another set of back-to-back games at the end of this upcoming road trip, when they play at Chicago on Oct. 27 and at Dallas on Oct. 28.INJURY REPORTMatt Greene
, in the final states of his recovery from July shoulder surgery, is expected to receive doctors’ clearance following an examination Wednesday night.
"He's anxious to get going, chomping at the bit," Murray said, "and if the doctors give him the green light, then it's just a matter of a couple more practices and he will be ready to go. We'll take him on the road and get him prepared through extra work, and we'll make that decision as we go through."
The Kings play at Phoenix on Thursday, then at Colorado on Saturday and at Minnesota on Monday.Scott Parse
, out since Sept. 22 with a groin injury, skated for approximately 10 minutes before the start of Tuesday’s practice but does not appear to be close to a return.
STAYING PATIENTAnze Kopitar
led the Kings with 34 goals last season, including four goals in his first five games. Wednesday’s game will be the Kings’ fifth, and Kopitar has yet to score a goal, although he does have three assists in his first four games.
Murray was asked Tuesday about Kopitar’s inability to put one in the goal column early in the season.
"I'm not concerned," Murray said. "That part will come along. He's getting his opportunities. He's making plays. The line is starting to show some chemistry, with a couple big goals from Brownie the other night. Those numbers will improve."