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ROYAL ROAD REPORT: PURCELL IN

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
The Kings kick off a five-game road trip tonight in Minnesota (5 p.m. PT); it is also the beginning of a stretch in which the team plays 13 of its next 17 games on the road. The Kings will play 17 of the final 24 games away from STAPLES Center. LA is 12-11-1 on the road this season including a 7-2-1 mark in the last nine road games. The Kings have played just 24 road games so far this season, the fewest of any team in the NHL.


LAST TIME
The Kings improved to 2-0-0 this season and snapped a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) at the Xcel Energy Center with a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Jan. 20. Kyle Calder (1-1=2), Drew Doughty (0-2=2) and Matt Greene (0-2=2) each had two points and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves in his first career start against Minnesota.

NOTES
Captain Dustin Brown did not make the trip to Minnesota due to the birth of his second child; it is the first game he has missed this season. RW Teddy Purcell was called up yesterday from Manchester to replace Brown, Purcell has a goal and six assists in 17 games for the Kings this year. Quick is expected to make the start tonight, he has started 13 of the last 14 games going 8-3-1 with a 2.86 GAA, .902 SV% and one shutout in that stretch. D Tom Preissing continues to be on the injured reserve list but skated with the team this morning. D Denis Gauthier is serving the second game of his two-game suspension handed down by the league after a hit in the game against San Jose last Thursday.

KEY STATS

From Jan. 17 - Feb. 10, the Kings were 7-1-1 including 6-1-1 on the road. The Kings also scored first in eight of the nine games in that stretch, the only time it did not was a 5-4 victory at Washington (2/5). Since returning home Feb.12, the Kings are 1-3-2 including an 0-2-2 stretch at home. In those six games, the Kings scored the first goal just once, a 4-3 victory at Anaheim last Wednesday. Los Angeles is 22-6-8 this season when it scores first, but just 3-18-6 when giving up the first goal of the game.

WILD NOTES
RW Owen Nolan will miss tonight’s game after suffering a fractured toe in the game against Chicago on Sunday. LW Andrew Brunette will return to the lineup tonight after missing the last two games with a lower body injury, he had played in 509 consecutive games before missing Saturday’s game against Detroit. RW Marian Gaborik continues his rehab after hip surgery on Jan. 5 and will have a physical March 3.

QUOTES
Sean O’Donnell

On coming back to play in Minnesota:
"I think that anytime you come back here it’s a fun place to play. Hockey’s in the air all the time and the fans are one of the best if not the best and it’s always easy to get up for these games and it’s always a get atmosphere so it’s a fun, fun place to play."

On the Western Conference race:
"Well I wouldn’t say these are our playoffs but its close enough, these games are huge and if you look at San Jose and Detroit are real, real tough teams but there are no easy games in the West. We’re in the bottom third but we can beat anyone on any given night so these games it seems like everyone’s in it. Minnesota has been on a nice little run lately and and we’re looking forward to getting on the road after a tough homestand so it should be a good game tonight."

On getting back on the road:
"I think we’ve had some success on the road, it’s been at home we’re struggling so you get on the road and you don’t have to try and put on a show and you play a good sound defensive game and kind of wait for the other team to make mistakes. It’s been working for us recently in the last eight or nine games and we’re looking forward to testing it again and these five games are a huge road trip for us."

On adversity and Captain Dustin Brown out of the lineup:
"Brownie is a special kind of player with his skill and grit and physical play he has so you’re not going to have one guy step in and fill that, he was our all-star representative for a reason. It sounds cliché but you need a collective effort from everyone else just to pick it up a little bit and make up for losing him. We’re playing a Minnesota team that hasn’t had Gaborik pretty much all year so every team goes through it and it’s the ones that seem to respond when certain guys are out of the lineup that seem to do the best."

Teddy Purcell:
On playing with Jarret Stoll and Kyle Calder:
"It’s always nice to come up and go in with a line that has had some success lately; it’s unfortunate that Brown couldn’t be here because that has been one of the top lines and has been effective so hopefully I can come in and not slow those guys down at all and get those guys the puck and continue some of the success they’ve been having."

On being a shooter:
"Brownie is a shooter and has one of the best shots on the team and Stoll and Calder are good at finding the open man. When I first came up here and got my first taste, I was almost afraid to shoot I always wanted to pass to those guys and try to make them happy but I think as I got more comfortable here and more confidence here I think I can fit more that shooter role. Down in Manchester, I’ve been able to do both so hopefully I can carry that up here and get open for those guys and find some goals."

On adjustments from previous games with Kings:
"With the new coaching staff, it is really big on defense and that checking part of the game and that is one of the areas I need to work on and when I was up here last time, I felt I got more comfortable with that and did a better job of being consistent but I went down and worked on some of those things and I’m being rewarded again up here. I think they know that I’m an offensive player I just have to go out and do the checking side of the game and be good in my own zone and the offense will take care of itself."

Compiled by Robert Desimone | Special to LAKings.com
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