EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – With a dominant home stand and a three-game winning streak, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter would seem to have little reason to change his lineup.
Signs at the morning skate Thursday pointed to a minor tweak though as it appears that rookie Tyler Toffoli will be scratched in favor of Jordan Nolan. The Kings did not do line rushes but Nolan came off the ice with the regulars and Toffoli stayed out with the extras.
Sutter recently had a pointed critique of Nolan, while the puck has found Toffoli often in his first three National Hockey League games. But Sutter could want Nolan's size as the Kings try to avenge their last home loss, to the Dallas Stars on March 7.
Sutter typically guards his lineup information as if it's a national security threat. He's liked the recent play of Dustin Penner and could move Penner back up in Toffoli's spot on the second line, although Sutter was begrudging when asked about Penner's compete level.
"I think it depends on who we're playing and who we play guys against," Sutter said. "That's the advantage of playing at home. You can try and match guys up, and if they're prepared for that challenge, then we like it."
White House visit: The White House announced it will welcome the Kings on March 26 to recognize their Stanley Cup championship and meet President Obama.
"I think it's interesting for our team because … [captain Dustin Brown] being an American, eh? Captain of an American team," Sutter said. "That, to me, is pretty cool for him. [Matt Greene] is one of our assistant [captains], he's American. For 99 percent of the guys who have never been to the White House, that's pretty special."
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Jordan Nolan
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Keaton Ellerby – Alec Martinez
Scratched: Tyler Toffoli, Brad Richardson, Davis Drewiske.
Injured: Matt Greene (back), Willie Mitchell (knee).
NOTES: Quick was first off the ice and would get a chance to redeem the March 7 loss to Dallas in which he allowed 17 goals on 21 shots. Quick seems to have turned a corner lately and got his first shutout of the season Monday.
Sutter had said that "Dallas kicked our [butt] in here last time" in reference to the March 7 loss but he later offered Thursday that, "We got very out-goaltended. We took three chicken-feathers penalties – tripping, hooking – and they scored on two of three of them. Quite honest, we pretty much controlled the game if you break it down. We won it in the faceoff area. We won it in the zone-time area. We were out-goaltended."