The Kings and the New York Rangers might make a change in their defense corps for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, to be played Saturday at Staples Center.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said Friday that defenseman Robyn Regehr “will probably play” in Game 2, but Sutter did not specify whose spot Regehr would take. Best guess is Matt Greene, who has been a healthy scratch in six games and is averaging 13 minutes and 51 seconds of ice time during the playoffs, the lowest among the eight defensemen Sutter has deployed.
Regehr hasn’t played since May 3, when he sustained a knee injury during the opener of the Kings’ second-round series against the Ducks. Neither he nor Greene is a speedster, but Greene has sometimes struggled against swift opponents. However, Greene was outstanding in the Kings’ Western Conference clincher against Chicago, contributing six hits, one block and two assists while compiling a plus-3 defensive rating. He played 16:48 and was plus-2 in Game 1 of the Final, a 3-2 overtime victory by the Kings.
Defenseman John Moore is expected to rejoin the Rangers’ lineup after serving a two-game, league-imposed suspension for a hit to the head of Montreal’s Dale Weise during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“My adrenaline is going to be pumping if I get a chance to come back,” Moore said. “You can’t try to do too much. It’s a team game. There are five other guys on the ice. You’ve got to play your game.”
Coach Alain Vigneault maintained his policy of not discussing lineup changes but said, “You watched practice today, so. . .”
Raphael Diaz, who played 10:15 in Game 1, is likely to sit if Moore plays.
To err is Human…
Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, whose turnover set up Justin Williams’ winning goal Wednesday in Game 1, said he processed and moved past the gaffe a day later. But he was reminded of it Friday, when reporters swarmed him after the Rangers practiced at Staples Center.
“It was gone until this morning — until right now — but obviously as a player there’s no worse feeling than that, to make a play that costs your team,” Girardi said. “Obviously stewed a little on it [Thursday], but we’ve got to get a move-on, and we’ve got a huge opportunity to make it 1-1 and get it back to our building.”
Cherry pick: Kings
Don Cherry, the colorful “Hockey Night in Canada” TV commentator, said he thinks the Kings will defeat the Rangers in six games.
“They were asleep for the first two periods [Wednesday], but that’s only natural when you come off a hard-fought series. I think Sutter went in and gave them a slap, that’s why it was 20-3 in the third,” Cherry said of the Kings’ edge in shots late in Game 1. “They won’t fall asleep again.”
Cherry said he’s “never seen anything” like the Kings’ resilience, which has included three rallies from two-goal deficits in the past seven games — after coming back from a 3-0 series hole versus San Jose in the first round — and a 7-0 mark in elimination games this postseason. He noted that Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick went over to the team’s bench and patted players on the back to encourage them when the Kings were down, 2-0.
“I saw that and said, ‘You watch, they’re gonna come back,’” said Cherry, who made his pro debut as a player in 1951 and as a broadcaster in the early 1980s. “They come back every time.”
He also said he favors the Kings partially because “they have nine guys from Ontario, from where I come . . . they’re just too good.”
Vigneault said Rangers backup goalie Cam Talbot remains day-to-day because of an undisclosed injury. . . . NBC play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick, who missed Game 1 because of a death in his family, is expected to return for Game 2. The telecast will include a profile of Williams and his career Game 7 exploits.