It’s almost like the Kings want traffic in front of Mike Smith or something

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A collection of quotes from the Kings following yesterday’s 2-0 Game 4 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, from LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond

Matt Greene: “We just have to get more traffic in front of Smith.”

Dustin Penner: “You talk about screen, tip, rebound, and we didn’t get enough of that tonight. We let him see too many pucks, and we didn’t get enough second chances.’’

Anze Kopitar: “We have to get some bodies in front of the net and make it tough on Smith.’’

Safe to say the Kings’ goal coming into this series was to make Smith’s life uncomfortable. They did it extremely well through Games 1-3, using their big bodies (most notably Dwight King) to put traffic at the top of the blue ice while showing an amazing level of restraint in post-whistle scrums.

On Sunday, the Kings were hardly in Smith’s kitchen at all.

You do have to wonder if Phoenix’s lobbying (Smith’s in particular) finally worked in Game 4. Justin Williams was whistled on a rather innocuous interference play, a penalty that led to Shane Doan’s game-winning tally.

Afterward, Williams told reporters that the officials “told me to stay away from the goalie,” and that he was “obviously not trying to interfere with [Smith].”

In terms of maintaining and limiting traffic, it was clear Phoenix played a much tighter, defensive game, as explained by NHL.com’s Cory Masisak:

Eventually the shots started coming from farther away, and Smith had relatively easy stops to make after Phoenix grabbed a one-goal and then a two-tally advantage. Even in the third period when the Kings attempted 31 shots, only 13 reached Smith and most were pretty harmless.

“Depends where those shots are coming from,” [Dave] Tippett said. “If they’re coming from outside, that’s one thing. If they’re coming from right in the guts of the ice, that’s another. We didn’t give up near as many chances tonight as we gave up earlier.

“The bend, don’t break — we have to play a certain way if we’re going to have success. It starts with competing, you know, blocking shots, things like that.

For one game, at least, the Coyotes didn’t break. Now they have to do it for three more.

Sabres re-sign Robin Lehner to one-year, $4 million deal

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The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with goalie Robin Lehner, as they inked him to a one-year, $4 million contract on Tuesday morning.

Lehner and the Sabres were scheduled to have their hearing on July 27, but that obviously won’t be necessary anymore.

The 26-year-old played a career-high 59 games in 2016-17. He finished the year with a 23-26-8 record, a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage.

There’s no doubt that he’s a talented netminder, but he’s had his share of struggles when it comes to staying healthy and being consistent. Of course, the team in front of him hasn’t been very good either.

Both of Buffalo’s goalie (Lehner and Chad Johnson) will have something to prove this season because they’re both on one-year contracts.

More details to come.

PHT Morning Skate: What will Ryan Johansen’s next contract look like?

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–Hall-of-fame goalie Tony Esposito joined the guys on NHL Tonight to talk about his illustrious career. He talked about being named to the NHL’s Top 100 list, how he was one of the first goalies to use the butterfly style and more. (NHL.com)

–It looks as though NHL players definitely won’t be playing in the next Olympics, which means certain players on AHL contracts could crack their country’s rosters. The Hockey News looks at eight minor leaguers that could find themselves at the next Olympic. Tom Kostopoulos could be an interesting player for Team Canada while Chris Bourque could be an option for the U.S. (The Hockey News)

–Nashville Predators GM David Poile has had a relatively good offseason, but he still needs to figure out a way to get Ryan Johansen under contract. The Score takes a deeper look at what his next contract could potentially look like. Johansen will never be the highest paid skater on his team (P.K. Subban makes $9 million), but second isn’t out of the question (that rank is currently held by Filip Forsberg at $6 million). (The Score)

–BarDown put together an interesting list of seven once popular equipment advancements that aren’t so popular anymore. Anyone remember Curtis Curve goalie sticks or aluminum shafts? (BarDown)

–We all know what a shark is, but why did the original ownership group in San Jose settle on that name for their hockey team? Here’s one of the reasons: “The Red Triangle is (obviously) a triangle-shaped region that spans roughly from north of San Francisco to Big Sur. It hosts seven species of sharks including Great White, Leopard, Mako, Seven-Gill, Blue, Soupfin, and Spiny Dog. Notably, it is home to one highest concentrations of Great White Sharks in the world. With so many sharks in the water, it made sense to put them on ice.” (NHL.com/Sharks)

–Everyone knows Sidney Crosby as an ultra-focused hockey star, but the little things separate him from the rest. Here’s a really cool story about him helping a Canadiens fan:

Canucks avoid arbitration with Boucher, Horvat remains RFA

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The Vancouver Canucks still have some work to do this summer, but at least none of their players will take part in salary arbitration hearings.

After coming to an agreement with Michael Chaput, the Canucks reached a one-year, $687,500 deal with forward Reid Boucher on Monday.

Boucher, 23, has 112 regular-season games under his belt. He spent most of his career (82 of 112 games) with the New Jersey Devils before bouncing to the Nashville Predators (3 games) and then the Canucks (27 games) last season. He averaged a little more than 12 minutes per night with the Canucks, much like with the Devils in 2016-17.

While the arbitration hearings are covered, the Canucks face two lingering RFA situations: Brendan Gaunce, and most importantly, Bo Horvat.

Coyotes sign Langhamer, so only Duclair needs a deal

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The Arizona Coyotes handed a one-year, two-way contract to goalie Marek Langhamer on Monday.

Langhamer would be paid $660K at the NHL level and $67,500 in the AHL, according to AZ Sports’ Craig Morgan.

Langhamer turned 23 on Saturday. He got about the smallest cup of coffee you could ask for with the Coyotes last season: he appeared in one game for 16 minutes, allowing a goal on eight shots.

It was quite the year for the Czech-born goalie, who played seven games in the ECHL and 25 in the AHL along with that brief NHL appearance. He also played in the AHL and ECHL during the 2015-16 season, so he’s been bouncing around.

As a seventh-rounder (184th overall in 2012), Langhamer likely doesn’t take opportunities for granted.

The netminding situation is interestingly fluid in Arizona. Both Antti Raanta and Louis Domingue stand ahead of Langhamer – at minimum – but those two only have one year remaining on their current deals. If nothing else, there’s likely a “prove it” vibe at multiple levels now that Mike Smith is in Calgary.

With Langhamer settled, the Coyotes only have one RFA left to sign, but it’s a tricky one with forward Anthony Duclair. When it came to Duclair, GM John Chayka kept it pretty vague with the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan.

“We’re still trying to determine the best value for the player and the team moving forward,” Chayka said.