Landing a playoff spot in the
This was the morning after a lost weekend in which the Kings were shut out twice on the road — by the
"The way the division is now — it's three teams and the wild cards," Sutter said. "So you've got to stay in the race and that's what we'll do. It won't be like a 10-game evaluation or a two-game evaluation … and we've done pretty well."
The Kings had scheduled an optional skate upon their return and opted for off-ice workouts. They are in the midst of a challenging portion of their schedule, with seven games in 12 days, so rest was the goal.
Last season, the separation in the Pacific Division was significant — the gap between the third-place
“I found our division always to be tough, even though the points didn’t show it,” Kings defenseman
The Kings play the
"The games are heavy games," Carlyle said of the Southland rivalry. "If you don't come prepared to play a physical brand of hockey, you can get lost on the ice surface against this hockey club."
The Ducks might get one of their key players back. Forward
"They've had their pieces in place for quite a bit now," Kings center Anze Kopitar said of the Ducks. "I don't think there are any secrets to their game, by any means. They have a lot of good pieces. They play a physical game for sure, probably more so against us, because of that crosstown rivalry stuff.
"But they have a lot of skill up front and can hurt you at all times if you're not cautious with it."
Nine games into the season, the Kings have yet to win a game in regulation which, in a different era, might have put them far behind. But they have won four times in overtime and so are in pretty good shape.
"I'm not concerned about it, no," Doughty said. "Yeah, we need to be scoring more goals, that's the bottom line. We're not scoring enough goals right now to win games in regulation, but we're going to win in regulation. I'm not worried about it."
Doughty characterized the Kings' recent play as "up and down" but added: "We have no excuses. Everyone's going to talk about the injuries, but that doesn't have an impact on our team right now. We've got to battle through it and that's it."
In addition to goaltender
“No matter if Quick’s in net or not,” Ducks forward
Sutter suggested that the Kings haven't been playing in the hard areas of the ice enough to generate scoring chances, spending too much time on the perimeter.
"It seems like we're going down the wings and just throwing pucks off pads," Doughty said. "We're trying to get rebounds but when you're throwing pucks off pads from the perimeter against these types of goalies nowadays, they're going to control the rebounds right into the corner … I think we need to worry more about getting more traffic in front and taking the puck to the net as hard as possible. It's more about getting into the dirty areas right now."
Even when the Kings won or challenged for the
"I don't think that's the case really," Kopitar said. "We've gone through stretches when Quickie was in net and we've done the same thing — not be able to score a lot."
KINGS VS. DUCKS
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. PDT.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: Prime, FSW; Radio: 830, 790
Update: Ducks goalie
Kings forward Andy Andreoff (upper body) is considered day to day, a team official said. The Ducks recalled defenseman Shea Theodore for the second time in four days, the latest in daily moves to stay salary cap compliant.