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Kings' Doughty again providing two-way excellence

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Drew Doughty didn't have to think long to pinpoint when and where he really got motivated him to elevate his game.

Amped up for a matchup against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 15, Doughty was a minus-4 in a 5-1 loss that night.

"My last bad game I can recall was Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay," Doughty said Thursday before his Los Angeles Kings played the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center.

"I was really [upset] at myself. That was a big game for me: me against Stamkos. I wanted to shut him down and not let him get anything, and then he lit me up. I really made sure that after that game I was going to do something about it, and I think I've played at both ends of the ice."

Although his offensive numbers aren't gaudy, Doughty is working his way back into Norris Trophy form with terrific two-way play. He is coming off perhaps his best game of the season, a plus-3 performance against Tampa Bay.

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Doughty endured struggles statistically last season, notably his 28-game goal-less streak at the start. He's not among the NHL's top defensemen in terms of offense, but he has an even or plus-rating in 16 of 22 games this season and does have 11 points in the past 14 games.

"As you can see, I'm doing those little things right, and the points are coming," he said. "Whereas last year maybe I was too hungry for the points with the lack of them, that I was trying too hard, and it was making me not as good in my own [end]. I feel great this year. I feel like I'm playing very well."

Here are the expected lineups:

DEVILS

Dainius ZubrusTravis ZajacJaromir Jagr

Patrik EliasAdam HenriqueMichael Ryder

Mattias TedenbyAndrei LoktionovSteve Bernier

Ryan CarterStephen GiontaCam Janssen

Andy GreeneMarek Zidlicky

Eric Gelinas - Adam Larsson

Peter Harrold - Mark Fayne

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Damien Brunner

Injured: Anton Volchenkov (leg), Ryane Clowe (head), Bryce Salvador (foot)

Notes: Only a handful of Devils were expected to skate on Thursday after their 4-3 overtime win at the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

Schneider, who stopped 19 of 20 shots when these teams met at Prudential Center on Nov. 15, will make his first start since then. He's 1-5-3 this season despite a 1.98 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

KINGS

Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Dwight KingMike RichardsTyler Toffoli

Daniel CarcilloJarret StollMatt Frattin

Tanner PearsonLinden VeyTrevor Lewis

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Robyn RegehrSlava Voynov

Willie MitchellAlec Martinez

Ben Scrivens

Martin Jones

Scratched: Jordan Nolan, Colin Fraser

Injured: Jonathan Quick (groin), Jeff Carter (foot), Matt Greene (upper body), Kyle Clifford (upper body)

Notes: Carter and Clifford continue to skate at the end of practices but are not yet participating with the team. The lineup appears to be the same.

Scrivens was off the ice first. He is 4-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA in his past four starts, including two shutouts. One of those was a 2-0 win against New Jersey and Schneider.

Frattin is wearing a face shield after he received 14 stitches from a high stick on Tuesday.

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