ST. LOUIS -
|Los Angeles Kings goalie Erik Ersberg played well in relief of Jonathan Quick, stopping all 14 shots in regulation vs. Colorado before falling in the shootout.
Injuries, while universally despised, do create opportunities, and two Kings players, in particular, took advantage of opportunities Wednesday night. Kings Injury Report Davis Drewiske
, inserted into the lineup because of Matt Greene
’s undisclosed upper-body injury, had a solid game in 13 minutes of ice time, and Randy Jones had one of his better games of late and earned important minutes in the third period.
Greene will miss his second consecutive game tonight, when the Kings face the St. Louis Blues, and coach Terry Murray
indicated that he will stay with the same defense.
Drewiske had not appeared in a game since Feb. 11, but did a credible job against Colorado when paired first with Jones and then with Rob Scuderi
. Drewiske had an even rating for the game and recorded one shot on goal and one hit.
"I thought he did pretty good," Murray said. "He's been out for a long time. I actually was feeling bad that I wasn't able to get him in and get him playing, because he has been so dedicated, to push himself to be ready to get back in there again. I liked what he did. He was to the pace of the play, most of the night, and overall he gets a good rating."
Jones’ numbers hadn’t been great of late, as he had zero points and a minus-5 rating in his previous six games entering Wednesday, but against Colorado, Jones played 16:30 and earned a third-period bump-up into a pairing with Drew Doughty
Jones had an even rating Wednesday and recorded two shots on goal.
"He was very involved in the offensive part of the game," Murray said. "He was pushing it up the ice, jumping into the play in the third period and overtime. That's what he was doing before the injury, and that's the kind of player that we're going to have to see again, as we continue on here, to have the defensemen be a big part of the game."
The Kings, facing the second of back-to-back games, did not hold a morning skate in St. Louis on Thursday. Greene is still considered day to day.
"In my mind, he's not ready to go," Murray said. "He needs another couple of days here before I'm going to think about getting him back in." THE UTILITY GUY
Murray said he had not decided on which forwards to play tonight, and said that he would have all player skate in pregame warmups (scratched players typically don’t skate).
Peter Harrold, a utility forward/defenseman, was in the lineup Wednesday largely as an insurance policy, because Drewiske hadn’t played in more than a month, but given Drewiske’s strong play Wednesday, that insurance might no longer be needed.
Still, Murray had praise for Harrold, particularly in terms of attitude. Harrold has one goal, two assists and a minus-2 rating in 37 games this season.
"He always stays ready," Murray said. "He's a great guy that way. His attitude, to stand on the sidelines when the team is playing well, and be ready to get going. He will always keep himself ready to go. That's just a high-character individual.
"When you have a meeting with him and talk about this scenario that's playing out for him, he totally understands and he just wants to be a part of the team. Any time that he's needed, he will be ready to go." GO TO THE TAPE?
A day later, the Kings were still unhappy with a couple of penalty calls in Wednesday’s game, particularly the double-minor high-sticking call on Brad Richardson
, on which it appeared that Richardson’s stick was lifted off the ice by Colorado’s Kyle Quincey.
There was also some debate on how much "roughing" was in Jack Johnson’s penalty.
At this month’s general managers’ meetings in Florida, there was informal talk of allowing NHL coaches to "challenge" some penalty calls, the way NFL coaches are allowed to challenge. Murray was asked what he thought about the possibility.
"The only way it could work would be to have a video replay available to the on-ice official, in the box, so he could go review it immediately," Murray said. "You'd also have to have a pretty good spy in the sky, to be able to get a call down to the bench. Then, like Jack's penalty, that's just a discretion call by the official. You can never challenge that, but when it has a huge impact on the game.
"Games today, they're all one-goal games, not only at this time of the year but throughout the year. They're so close that it makes a difference in the outcome of the game. I don't know the answer to that. It would be a topic of discussion." TOUGH SPOT, GOOD JOB
Goalie Jonathan Quick
, who was pulled late in the first period Wednesday night, will be back in goal as the Kings’ starter tonight. Quick was replaced by Erik Ersberg after he allowed three goals on 16 shots in the first period.
"My intent was to put him [Quick] back in at the start of the next period." Murray said. "That was the thought process, and then when I got in between periods, I just decided to stay with the change."
It worked out well, as Ersberg stopped all 14 shots he faced in regulation and overtime before falling in the shootout and taking the hard-luck "overtime loss."
"Erik did a good job," Murray said. "Billy Ranford
, and (assistant coaches) Jamie (Kompon)
and Mark (Hardy)
, they do a great job after the morning skates, in particular, with extra work. They really push him and demand a lot from him on the work side of it. They set up drills that are game-like scenarios.
"So I knew he was ready to get going and that he would do a good job for us. I was not concerned about the game-like conditioning, because of the intensity of the practices."