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ROYAL ROAD REPORT: POWER PLAY KEY

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Kyle Quincey and his 18 power-play points will be key today playing the league's 24th-ranked penalty kill unit.

The Kings tonight will look to keep their momentum going as they jockey for position to make the Western Conference playoffs. Having won four out of their last five games, the Kings will match up with the Capitals, a team that has won three games in a row and gained a point in seven of their last eight.

The Kings will look to improve on their 8-10-1 road record this season. Although the Kings have traditionally had a measure of success in Washington (21-18-7-1), this year’s Capitals team possesses on of the league’s best home records at 21-3-1. The teams met earlier this year, with the Kings earning a 5-2 at STAPLES Center. In order to beat Washington again, the Kings will try to keep Alex Ovechkin off the scoresheet. So far, they are one of just two teams to hold Ovechkin without a goal against in his career (San Jose being the other).

THE POWER PLAYS THE THING

Before Tuesday’s game, the Kings had scored at least one power play goal in four straight games. They could get back on track against the Capitals. Washington’s penalty killing unit has surrendered a power play goal in 12 straight games and rank 24th in the league with a 78.9% killed rate.

The Kings penalty-killing unit could have their hands full with a Capitals power play that is among the league’s best. Their 23.5% success rate ranks fourth in the league and they have scored 6 power play goals in their last 3 games, including three on Tuesday against New Jersey.

The Kings enter the game with the league’s 10th best penalty killing unit, killing 82.3% of all power plays faced. “We’ve had pretty good success here recently,” coach Terry Murray said of his power play. “Even though it didn’t happen for us in Ottawa it gives you some confidence as a team just to get the puck in the offensive zone.”

Kyle Quincey leads the Kings in power play points with 18 (2-6=18).

MOLLER CLOSE

Center Oscar Moller has been participating in practice in the last few days. Coach Murray says he should be back in the Kings lineup soon, saying the Swedish center is “probably just a game or two away” and predicts the young center will be in one of the team’s final two games this trip.

LINES

The Kings forward lines remain the same, with Alexander Frolov, Anze Kopitar and Patrick O’Sullivan forming the top line. The CBS line of Kyle Calder, Jarrett Stoll and Dustin Brown, which has combined for 23 points (11-12=23) in the last six games will remain together. The line of Brad Richardson, Michal Handzus andWayne Simmonds, which scored the lone goal in the 1-0 win over Ottawa on Tuesday will skate together and Raitis Ivanans, Derek Armstrong and Peter Harrold will form the fourth line.

Click here to see the Kings projected lineup tonight.

On defense the pairings will be Sean O’Donnell-Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson-Matt Greene and Kyle Quincey-Davis Drewiske. Jonathan Quick will get the start in goal. He comes off a 1-0 shutout in Ottawa, the third of his season and career. He has not faced the Capitals in his young career.

John Zeiler will be a healthy scratch, Tom Preissing will miss the game due to illness and Denis Gauthier will be serving game No. 2 of his five-game suspension.

MURRAY RETURNS TO WASHINGTON

Terry Murray tonight returns to Washington, where he coached the Capitals over parts of five seasons from the 1989-90 season to 1993-94. He led the team to a 163-134-28 (.502) record in the regular season and an 18-21 (.462) playoff record in four appearances.

QUOTES

TERRY MURRAY
On the similarities between the teams building processes:
“We know Washington came through a process over the last several years of building. And I think you take a look at where they are now and I think our young guys recognize that, that there’s a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.”

One playing the Capitals at Verizon Center:
“We handle the environment pretty well as a young club.”

“The thing about being a really good team at home: there’s always those high expectations. The fans, everybody, even in their locker room, they have that attitude that they feel they should win every night. And so if we come out and play solid and play with composure we don’t have to be intimidated. We’re developing a good feel as far a road team is concerned.”

“Just play the right way. Don’t come out and try to do anything extra special. Just keep it simple and play hard and compete hard and make our breaks and we’ll see what happens.”

On Davis Drewiske’s debut:
“Drewiske was very good. Young guy, very mature… but he played with tremendous poise, made good decisions with the puck in his own end, stayed out of trouble, played heavy. He’s got size and strength and he’s great one-on-one. He impressed all of us.”

Compiled by John Gregory | Special to LAKings.com
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