After a couple of days of practicing in Montreal the Kings hit the road to Ottawa, Ontario on Monday afternoon. The team made the two-hour trip by bus and arrived in the Nation’s Capital around 3 p.m.
On Tuesday morning the Kings had their pre-game skate at 11 a.m. local time in preparation for tonight’s meeting with the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
Tonight’s 4:30 p.m. matchup is game two in the Kings current five-city road trip.
The Kings will be in search of their fourth win in the last five games.
Los Angeles start the night six points out of a play-off spot but only 10 points away from the fifth-place Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference. The Kings are in 13th place with 47 points with a record of 20-21-7 after 48 games.
Ottawa sits in 13th place in the Eastern Conference after 48 games with 41 points courtesy of their 17-24-7 record.
Tonight’s contest will see Kings Head Coach, Terry Murray square off against his brother Bryan (Ottawa GM) and their newly appointed head coach, Corey Clouston.
The Murray brothers are from Shawville, Quebec which is about 100 miles Northwest of Ottawa.
During their NHL careers the Murrays have always taken the time to communicate with each other prior to a game involving their respective teams but yesterday’s circumstances in Ottawa prevented Terry from calling his older brother.
The Ottawa Senators fired Craig Hartsburg, their head coach on Monday morning and replaced him with Clouston who had been serving as the bench boss of their AHL affiliate in Binghamton, New York.
“I was going to call Bryan then decided not to after finding out what had been going on earlier in the day,” said the Kings head coach. “I feel bad for Craig (Hartsburg),” continued Murray. “He’s a good friend. We coached together in Philadelphia. I’ll talk to Bryan today and catch up with things.”
The CBS Line remains intact with Kyle Calder, Dustin Brown and Jarrett Stoll. The Kings second line has accumulated 23 points over the last five games. Brown has 6-4=10 points in his last five contests while Stoll has collected 3-2=5 in his last four matches.
Anze Kopitar, Alexander Frolov and Patrick Sullivan will skate together with Brad Richardson, Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds forming another trio.
The fourth combination will consist of Raitis Ivanans, Derek Armstrong and Peter Harrold.
Jack Johnson-Matt Greene, Sean O’Donnell-Drew Doughty, Kyle Quincey-Davis Drewiske.
Drewiske was recalled from the AHL Manchester Monarchs for tonight’s game. The Hudson, Wisconsin native hasn’t played a regular season game for the Kings this season. The 24-year old blue-liner will wear jersey No. 44.
Jonathan Quick will get the start in goal for the Kings.
Forward Oscar Moller, still recovering from his shoulder injury and forward John Zeiler, defensema Tom Preissing and the suspended Denis Gauthier.
The Kings have five players born in the province of Ontario including Derek Armstrong, Sean O’Donnell, Drew Doughty, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds.
Armstrong and O’Donnell are Ottawa natives. A trip back to their hometown is always something they circle on their schedules.
“The drive in on the bus from Montreal yesterday afternoon brought back a lot of memories,” Armstrong said. “I used to drive that road a lot when I played junior in Hawkesbury (CJHL). I sat there for about an hour listening to music and thought I can’t believe I made the NHL. It’s always exciting to share my time in the league with my family and friends.”
O’Donnell grew up in the shadow of Scotiabank Place and always anticipates a trip home during the season. “Everybody likes the chance to go home and play in front of their family and friends,” the Kings rearguard said. “I remember watching the Senators play when I was just breaking into the league and in the minors and now I get the chance to play against them in my own back yard.”
KOPITAR GETS A TASTE OF HOME ON THE ROAD
Anze Kopitar spent Monday night dining on Slovenian cuisine after receiving an invitation from a local family to join them for dinner. The Kings forward was served a couple of dishes featuring a main course of meat wrapped in cabbage. Kopitar loved the opportunity to converse in Slovenian and feast on some food from his native country.
“If I have a good game tonight I’ll have to make sure I eat there every time I visit Ottawa,” Kopitar said with a big grin.
GAUTHIER RECEIVES VERDICT
Gauthier was suspended for five games on Monday afternoon by the NHL for his head shot on Montreal’s Josh Georges during the LA/Montreal game on Jan. 31. Gauthier will be eligible to return to the Kings line-up on Feb. 14 against Edmonton.
Gauthier spoke about the incident after the morning skate.
“I understand the league’s decision,” Gauthier said. “I never meant to hurt Georges, it’s just the way I play. I play on the edge and sometimes it gets me into trouble.”
The Kings defenceman may have accepted the suspension but Murray didn’t.
“After watching several replays I thought it was a good hit, there was no elbow,” Murray said. “That’s the way Denis plays and if it’s going to be taken away from him, it’s going to be difficult for him to play in the league. That’s his game, he’s a veteran and it will be difficult for him to change his style of play. But it is what it is, the league made the decision and we’ll get through it.”
THIS AND THAT
Tonight’s contest will be the only meeting between the two teams this season and Murray expects the Senators to come out strong right from the beginning.
“I expect Ottawa to come out flying in the first ten minutes,” Murray said. "There’s no doubt that the Senators will want to impress their new head coach. They know exactly what’s on the line now that the coach has been changed. It’s going to be a bee’s nest out there for the first 10 minutes.”
Los Angeles defeated Ottawa 2-0 on March 6, 2008 at STAPLES Center. The Kings and Senators did not see each other during the 2006-2007 campaign. The Kings All-Time record versus Ottawa stands at 13-6-2-0 and LA is 6-3-1 versus the Senators in their last 10 meetings...Forward Marc-Andre Cliche, who suffered a shoulder injury during training camp and was placed on the injured reserve list, has been activated and assigned to Manchester
Compiled by Mike Beasley | Special to LAKings.com