EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – There were no apparent lineup changes for the Los Angeles Kings at their morning skate as they go into their series finale against the Anaheim Ducks. Coach Darryl Sutter has stuck with the defensive combination of Drew Doughty and Robyn Regehr, and Doughty likes having that stay-at-home type to balance out his freelancing.
"That gives me the opportunity to kind of jump up every time I can," Doughty said. "He’s always back there. He’s always solid. For the most part, I know what he’s going to do with puck. It’s going to be a simple play. He’s not going to make that saucer pass over a stick or anything like that. He’s either going to go straight up to the winger or over to me.
"I want the puck in my hands as much as I can have, and if he’s going to keep giving it to me, I love that. I think so far we’ve worked really well together. As we get used to each other, we’re going to get better and better."
Doughty said his slow start to the season was tough because he wasn’t putting up points. He took on an increased role with heavy minutes but he also adjusted with partners Jake Muzzin and Keaton Ellerby.
Overall, Doughty said he might look back this period as an important step in his career.
"I’ve really learned to become more of a professional, more of a leader," he said. "I’ve taken more of a role in that way on this team. I’m more vocal – whether it’s on the ice or off the ice – I try to help in all areas, not only just in my play. That’s definitely something I’ve learned this year is to be more of a professional. It’s not just the game that matters. It’s stuff leading up to the game, whether it’s the night before or the preparation, and I’ve learned those things."
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Brad Richardson – Jordan Nolan
Robyn Regehr – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin – Keaton Ellerby
Injured: Matt Greene (back).
Scratched: Colin Fraser, Tyler Toffoli, Alec Martinez.
NOTES: Quick was first off the ice and Sutter appears to be leaning on him more as the regular season finish gets closer.
Greene has not been cleared for contact and the window for him to play in the regular season grows smaller. Sutter told reporters Friday that if Greene wasn’t able to play three or four games then he couldn’t see putting him in for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last season Sutter inserted Simon Gagne after nearly six months off but Sutter said Greene’s situation is different because he’s a defenseman and a physical player who plays a lot of minutes.