If Kings center Nick Shore was feeling any nerves about his looming NHL debut, he wasn’t showing signs of anxiety after Saturday’s morning skate.
Shore is set to make his NHL debut Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks, and he said that his parents, David and Sarah, would be on hand for the game at Staples Center. He will be the second member of his family to play in the NHL.
His older brother Drew, who is now with the Calgary Flames, made his NHL debut with the Florida Panthers, shortly after the end of the league’s lockout, on Jan. 22, 2013.
“I definitely think there is a bit of nerves, going into my first game, just try to put that into some positive energy, and hope we get off to a good start,” Nick Shore said.
Said Kings Coach Darryl Sutter: “The challenge tonight for sure will be playing a big physical team that’s really good down the middle of the ice. That, in itself, is the challenge.”
Shore displayed a consistent scoring touch with the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. He had 20 goals and 41 points with the Monarchs, including seven power-play goals.
“[I] don’t think he’s going to be too flustered or any of those things,” Sutter said. “We need him to perform. We’re in a situation because we’re not getting much [production].
“Even though we shut Toronto out two games ago, if you look at it over the last little bit, we’re giving up too many goals against. Even though we’re scoring three goals a game, it’s very isolated in terms of who we are getting it from.
“And that’s right through our lineup. We have to get more all-around performances, which includes scoring opportunities out of more players. If he can bring that, then obviously it’s going to make a difference to our club.”
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is scheduled to start. Backup goalie Martin Jones was not at the morning skate and Sutter did not offer specifics about what was wrong with Jones.
The scratches Saturday night for the Kings look to be defensemen Robyn Regehr and Jamie McBain and center Andy Andreoff. Tyler Toffoli (mononucleosis) is still out of the lineup but reported improvement after getting some blood work and additional testing done this week.
“It’s getting better,” Toffoli said. “It’s going in the right direction. It’s moving a lot faster than we expected.”