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ROYAL ROAD REPORT: QUICK TO START

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
PHOENIX – Tonight, the Los Angeles Kings will complete their eighth “two games in two nights” set of the season when they face-off against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona. Following Friday night’s 2-1 loss to their Pacific Division rivals, the Kings are eager for revenge.


LINE-UP CHANGES
Kings Head Coach Terry Murray has altered his team’s roster for tonight’s game by inserting right wing John Zeiler back into the line-up, moving Peter Harrold back to the blue line and scratching defenseman Tom Preissing.

“I’m really excited (to be back),” said John Zeiler. “We got to get something going tonight and get some energy going throughout the whole team and hopefully I can help bring that.”

STICK WITH QUICK
Rookie netminder Jonathan Quick will be back between the pipes tonight, making his fourth consecutive start.
“Quick’s going to play (tonight),” said Murray. “Last night I liked what he did…he made a couple real big stops, a good save on a two-on-one and was the one guy that gave us an opportunity to get going and get back in the game.”

In four games this season, Quick is 1-2-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.

FINDING THE INTENSITY
Disappointed by his club’s effort at the start of the last night’s contest, Los Angeles Head Coach Terry Murray called upon his players meet the challenge and return to details.

“This is a conversation we’ve had several times this season,” said Murray referring to his club’s energy level at the start of games. “When you play as a skilled player, you still have responsibilities to do the same things everyone else has to do as far as battles and working along the boards.

“There is some responsibility that resides with the group in the locker room, especially the leadership group, that when you come to a break like we had for a couple of days and you need to come back ready to play and to play hard. The thing that is the most disappointing is that it’s a division game and you have a chance to move within a point with a win and ahead with another win. You need someone that is there on the ice to really grab hold of things and take charge of it.”

Zeiler also noted the importance of taking advantage of inner-division match-ups.

“Games like this are four point nights,” said Zeiler. “Teams like us and Phoenix are battling for playoff spots and our guys just need to stay calm, stick to the system and play smart keep it simple; get pucks in and out, make the first good pass and get shots to the net.”

POWER PLAY PRODUCTION
Despite converting just two of their last 19 power play opportunities, the Kings still rank 15th in the league in overall power play production and they know that finding success on trhe man-advantage will go a long way towards a climb in the standings.

“Our power play is a huge part of our team,” said Peter Harrold. “They expect us to score and we need to come up big in those situations. We’ve just been a little sloppy over the last few games, not making the right plays or the right decisions and we just need to shoot the puck more.

“Traffic is a huge part of that too,” said Harrold. “The goal last night, there were two of our forwards and two of their defenders (in front) and if you can do that, the goalie won’t be able to see anything and you’ll be able to score a lot of goals.”

The tick for the Kings is recognizing their opportunities and not trying to force a goal or do too much.

“When you start to try and do too much, that just makes it easier for the other team,” said Harrold. “We just need to use our teammates, make simple plays and get a little bit of momentum.”

ERSBERG CLOSE TO RETURNING
Goaltender Erik Ersberg, who has been out since Dec. 17 with a groin injury, is close to returning and could be back in net sometime next week.

“I think he’s very close (to returning),” added Murray. “He’s got no restriction in what he’s doing out there and he just needs to get his timing back, but that should come quickly.”

Notebook compiled by Chad Lynch
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