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Quick Turnaround

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Quick will get his chance at redemption Saturday afternoon.

After being pulled during the third period of Monday’s loss to Detroit, and sitting and watching Jonathan Bernier record a shutout win over Phoenix on Thursday, Quick will get the call when the Kings host Vancouver tomorrow at STAPLES Center.

Immediately after the win over Phoenix, coach Terry Murray said he hadn’t thought about which could would start against the Canucks, but after Friday’s practice, Murray didn’t hedge his bets at all when naming Quick as the gamer’s starter.

Quick has a 28-16-2 record, with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Bernier, who numbers have improved dramatically over the past two months, has is 8-8-2 with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

``No, it's not really a tough decision,’’ Murray said. ``I could easily have stuck with Bernier. I really liked his performance last night. He was feeling things. But it's very important, here, that I understand that Quick had a tough game, but he's always had that great ability to bounce back, and has played Vancouver -- through last year -- very good, in the playoffs. He has a good feel for them, so Quick will get the call.’’

Quick started every game of the first round of last season’s playoffs, in which the Canucks beat the Kings in six games. Quick then faced Vancouver twice in the first four games of this season and stopped 48 of 50 shots in two victories.

Jonathan Quick will get the start tomorrow vs. Vancouver.
Quick will look to rebound from his game against Detroit, in which he allowed six goals on 23 shots. Murray cited Quick’s ability to bounce back from adversity as a major reason why Quick will start against Vancouver.

``He always has, Murray said. ``I really like that about his personality and his game. Whether it's a game or just a goal in a game, he has been able to come back, and the next grade-A chance against, he has made that save. It's just part of the process you go through. Everybody has that game that you want to have over again. He will have his opportunity to get back at it tomorrow.’’

Murray also indicated, though, that Bernier would get a good amount of work down the stretch (after Saturday, the Kings have 17 regular-season games remaining). Bernier has allowed two or fewer goals in six of his last seven starts.

``Obviously any goalie would want to play more,’’ Bernier said. ``For me, it’s not something I focus on. Quick and I are here to win some hockey games. Quick is number one and he’s won some tremendous hockey games for us.’’

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell is helped by trainer Chris Kingsley after being struck in the face during the first period last night.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
``Comfort’’ was not exactly the operative word for Willie Mitchell on Friday. He practiced wearing a visor -- which he hasn’t worn regularly in more than a decade -- and just a few hours after he required 40-plus stitches to close three cuts to his face.

Mitchell was hit, near his left eye, by an errant shot by Phoenix’s Kyle Turris in the first period Thursday night, then missed most of the second period before returning.

``I could have done without it, but it can always be worse, right?’’ Mitchell said. ``I kind of saw it at the last second. It wasn't the best play by him [Turris]. He knew it, and he apologized to me after. It's not like he had pressure, and he was like four feet, five feet away from me. I'm just lucky my eye was all right.’’

There was actually a measure of relief for Mitchell, who, other than the initial pain of being struck by the puck, apparently suffered no other ill effects. Mitchell missed almost half of last season due to lingering concussion symptoms.

``To be honest with you, I hate to keep reassuring myself with this stuff,’’ Mitchell said, ``but to get hit in the head like that, with the puck, and to have my head be good, I was pretty happy about that, after what I've been through. You don't want to go through this in order to reassure yourself that your head is all right, but to get hit with the puck that hard, and not have an ill effects, it was something to be happy about.’’

The Kings tweaked their line combinations a bit Friday, swapping right wingers Justin Williams and Wayne Simmonds and creating a first line of center Anze Kopitar and wingers Dustin Penner and Williams.

So, Penner, in his second game with the Kings, will get a new linemate. In his Kings debut Thursday, Penner played 16 minutes, 45 seconds, and did not record a shot on goal but had a team-high five hits.

``He has gone through a very busy time here, with the move and the trade, a new system and style,’’ Murray said of Penner, who was traded from Edmonton on Monday. ``I thought, overall, his game was good. When it comes to the structure that we want to play with, I was actually very pleased.

``I was surprised that he executed as well as he did, because of all the information that was fed to him in two days. He made some plays. He's very strong. He got some bumps in there, on the forecheck, and he had a nice net presence on the winning goal. So he gets a pretty good grade for his first game.''

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