MONTREAL, Canada — Bonjour from windy Montreal. It’s usually a big shock to leave Los Angeles and experience winter weather here, but the chilly temperatures back home made the transition a little easier this time.
Martin Jones, coming off a shootout win over the Ducks on Tuesday and a shutout win over the New York Islanders on Saturday, was the first goalie off the ice at the Kings’ morning skate Tuesday at the Bell Center. Coach Darryl Sutter declined to identify his starter — as he usually does — and added, “It’s not necessarily the one who comes out first, though.”
That was a reference to what happened before the Islanders game, when it appeared Ben Scrivens would start but Sutter made a late switch to Jones because Sutter said Scrivens was “a little dinged up.” Jones went on to earn his first NHL shutout.
Starting Jones on Tuesday — the first game in a back-to-back sequence — would leave Scrivens to start against his former team, the Maple Leafs, on Wednesday in Toronto.
One side note: On Wednesday the Kings won’t have to face Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who was suspended for two games by the NHL for a boarding infraction against Boston’s Kevan Miller on Sunday.
Jones, 23, is taking his early success in stride. “It’s been good. I’ve gotten a couple of good results so far but it’s a lot of work ahead,” he said. “I don’t want to stop now. I want to keep building and keep getting better and better.”
He will have a daunting task Tuesday, because the Kings historically haven’t had much success in Montreal.
TV play-by-play announcer Bob Miller said he had calculated that in 40 years of calling Kings games in Montreal his record in the city is 7-35-9. Radio play-by-play announcer Nick Nickson said he has seen only two Kings wins here in 33 years and missed a third because of the birth of his son.
Overall, the Canadiens’ record at home against the Kings is 48-8-11. The Kings’ last win here was on Dec. 11, 1999.
The Bell Center isn’t as forbidding a place as the old Forum was, but the Canadiens are playing well. They’ve won five straight games and are 9-0-1 in their last 10. The Kings are also on a roll, having won three straight and earned standings points in 14 of their last 15 games (10-1-4). They’ve allowed two goals or fewer in all of those games, excluding shootout goals.
But that stingy streak hasn’t impressed Sutter. “You have to do it over 82 games in order to make the playoffs,” he said.
The Canadiens conducted their morning skate at their suburban practice facility but reports from there said former King enforcer George Parros won’t be in the lineup Tuesday night. Also out is former King defenseman Davis Drewiske, who underwent shoulder surgery in October and is expected to need five to six months’ recovery time.
Check back for more before the game.
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