Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is on mend but winger Marian Gaborik could be out awhile
NEWARK, N.J. — Progress on one injury front, regression on another.
The Kings’ seven-game trip is quickly becoming their winter-injury tour, February installment. But All-Star goalie Jonathan Quick was on the ice for a Saturday session at Prudential Center, practicing for the first time since suffering an undisclosed injury in the final seconds Tuesday at Boston. He indicated that things were moving in the right direction.
There was no such good news regarding winger Marian Gaborik, who was placed on injured reserve and was scheduled to return to Los Angeles for additional evaluation.
Those developments were signs of a possible extended absence from the lineup. Gaborik was injured after a knee-on-knee collision with Rangers forward Dominic Moore in the first period of Friday’s game, which the Kings won, 5-4 in overtime.
Gaborik at first went to the bench after the collision but was in obvious discomfort. He was unable to put any weight on his left leg and needed assistance getting back to the dressing room.
The Kings will not be making an immediate call-up from their American Hockey League team in Ontario. They have two extra forwards available and it doesn’t make sense right now to fly someone cross-country to join the team on this long trip, according to hockey operations. Forward Michael Mersch would be at the top of the list if they decided to eventually tap the Reign roster.
The often-injured Gaborik had been going through a surprising run of durability, having played in every game this season. His scoring touch also had picked up of late.
He went 10 games without a goal, broke the scoring drought on Jan. 24 and had scored three goals in five games, including a first-period power-play goal on Friday against the Rangers. In all he has 12 goals and 22 points and was a minus-six in 54 games.
The move to put Gaborik on injured reserve helps with roster flexibility because goaltender Peter Budaj was brought up on emergency recall from Ontario. Quick, meanwhile, was impressed by Budaj’s play Friday in his Kings debut.
“He made some huge saves down the stretch, into overtime,” Quick said. “What he’s been able to do with Ontario, the season he is having, being an [AHL] All-Star, he’s been playing some good hockey. . . . He played well, helped us win.”
Budaj, 33, has been known throughout his NHL career in Colorado and Montreal as a good teammate, well-liked by peers. His composure has impressed the Kings, at the minor league level and now here.
“It comes with age, with experience, too,” Budaj said. “The more experience you have, the more understanding of the game you have. You grow as a person. Young guys, they’re more anxious. When you get older, you get more calm, more understanding.
“You try hard to improve yourself. You know there’s a certain way. When you’re younger, you try to go, go, go without thinking. You have to think more and be more composed and focus on the next puck. When you let in a goal, you don’t try to think about the outcome of the game.”
KINGS NEXT UP
AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS
When: Sunday, 9:30 a.m. PST.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: The Devils won, 2-1, in overtime at Philadelphia on Saturday and have lost just once in eight games decided in overtime. New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider is 8-3-1 in his last 12 starts.
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