Kings

Western Conference final team capsules: Los Angeles Kings

A rundown of the reigning Stanley Cup champs, who are trying to become the first team to repeat since 1998. Their 27-16-5 record made them the No. 5 seed in the playoffs.

27th appearance
1 Stanley Cup title (2012)

Studs

  • Jonathan Quick: 8-5, 1.50 GAA (leads NHL), .948 save% (leads NHL), 3 shutouts (leads NHL)
  • Dustin Brown: 57 hits (4th in NHL)
  • Jeff Carter: 5 goals (leads team)
  • Justin Williams: 2 goals in Game 7 win vs. SJS
  • Slava Voynov: 3 GWG (T-NHL lead), +7 (leads team)
  • Rob Scuderi: 31 blocked shots (3rd in NHL)
  • Team: 7-0 record at Staples Center (14 straight home wins, including regular season)
  • Team: 536 hits (most in NHL)

Duds:

  • Drew Doughty: 19 giveaways (most in NHL)
  • Robyn Regehr: 1 assist, -3 (worst on team)
  • Team: 1-5 record away from Staples Center
  • Team: 2.00 goals per game (11th in NHL)
  • Team: 8 goals in 6 away games

Stanley Cup winners with 2012 Kings (20 players, 3 coaches):

  • Jonathan Bernier, Dustin Brown (captain), Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Colin Fraser, Matt Greene, Dwight King, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jordan Nolan, Dustin Penner, Jonathan Quick (Conn Smythe winner), Mike Richards, Brad Richardson, Rob Scuderi, Jarret Stoll, Slava Voynov, Justin Williams, Darryl Sutter (head coach), John Stevens (asst), Bill Ranford (asst)

Cup winners with other franchises (4):

  • Colin Fraser (2010 Blackhawks), Dustin Penner (2007 Ducks), Rob Scuderi (2009 Penguins), Justin Williams (2006 Hurricanes)

Seeking first Cup, have played or coached one+ playoff game this postseason (5 players, 1 coach):

  • Keaton Ellerby, Jake Muzzin, Tanner Pearson, Robyn Regehr, Tyler Toffoli, Davis Payne (asst)

Seeking 2013 postseason debut:

  • Andy Andreoff, Jean-Francois Berube, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Andrew Campbell, Robert Czarnik, Nicolas Deslauriers, Martin Jones, Brandon Kozun, Brian O’Neill, Nick Shore, Anthony Stewart, Linden Vey, Jordan Weal (none played in the regular season)

Most career playoff …

  • Games: Mike Richards, 83
  • Goals: Jeff Carter, 21
  • Points: Mike Richards, 65

Last playoff …

  • Hat trick: Jeff Carter, May 15, 2012 (at Coyotes, Game 2, WCF)
  • 4-point game: Drew Doughty, April 16, 2011 (at Sharks, Game 2, WCQF)
  • Short-handed goal: Anze Kopitar, May 22, 2012 (at Coyotes, Game 5, WCF)
  • Fight: Jordan Nolan, May 6, 2012 (Chris Stewart, vs. Blues, Game 4, WCSF)
  • Shutout: Jonathan Quick, May 23, 2013 (vs. Sharks, Game 5, WCSF)

Playoff trend:

The Kings are trying to become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the 1997 & 1998 Detroit Red Wings … six different franchises have repeated in the Post-Expansion Era

  • Montreal Canadiens (1968 & 1969; 1976-79)
  • Philadelphia Flyers (1974 & 1975)
  • New York Islanders (1980-83)
  • Edmonton Oilers (1984 & 1985; 1987 & 1988)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 & 1992)
  • Detroit Red Wings (1997 & 1998)
  • In 2012, the Kings became the first 8-seed to win the title … they also matched the NHL record, with 10 road wins, during their run (1995 & 2000 Devils, 2004 Flames) … in the first two rounds of 2013, they were only 1-5 on the road

The Kings became only the 2nd reigning champion since 2003 to reach the conference finals the following season (2008 Red Wings)

Milestones:

  • In the WCSF, Jonathan Quick became the Kings’ all-time postseason leader in goaltending wins (28)
  • With one game-winning goal, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Dustin Penner & Slava Voynov (3 apiece) will tie Butch Goring for 3rd on the all-time GWG list in Kings postseason history
  • Former Blackhawks player Darryl Sutter moved into 12th in all-time coaching wins (71) … needs one win to tie Ken Hitchcock (72) for 11th
  • Justin Williams became the first player in NHL history to score a goal in his first four Game 7s
  • The Kings have allowed 3 or fewer goals in 33 consecutive playoff games, an NHL record

2012-13 season

  • Longest win streak: 5 (February 19 – 27)
  • Longest winless streak: 3 (January 19 – 24)

Biggest storylines of season & postseason:

  • The Kings were 10-1 on the road during their run to the Stanley Cup last season … they were 8-12-4 this season, including 3-7-3 vs. teams that made the playoffs … in the first two rounds of 2013, they were only 1-5 on the road
  • Drew Doughty did not score a goal until his 29th game this season … he scored five of his six in April

Award finalists:

  • Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (most influential team captain): Dustin Brown

Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field

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When the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers take their long-time rivalry outside on Saturday night it will be Matt Murray and Michael Neuvirth getting the starts in goal for the teams.

For the Penguins, Murray getting the start is no shock at this point since he has clearly taken over the No. 1 job, starting 14 of the past 17 games the Penguins have played and currently owning some of the best numbers of any goalie in the league this season. His .925 save percentage that is currently fifth best in the NHL while his .935 save percentage during even-strength situations is tied for second best.

He has allowed just 10 goals in his past six starts.

The Penguins’ goaltending situation is still going to be one worth watching over the next couple of days leading up to the NHL trade deadline. With Murray as the guy in net trade speculation surrounding Marc-Andre Fleury has picked up, and even though general manager Jim Rutherford said earlier this week that he would prefer to keep Fleury, he mentioned on Friday that a decision resulting his short-term future will be made in the 24-48 hours leading up to the deadline.

Meanwhile, on the Philadelphia side, it will be Neuvirth getting another start as he tries to shake off the rust he has shown since returning to the lineup from an injury that sidelined him for a large portion of the season. Since returning he has just an .894 save percentage in eight starts, continuing what has been an overall disappointing season for him in net.

He faced the Penguins earlier this season in a 5-4 loss, giving up two goals on 12 shots in relief of starter Steve Mason.

Elsewhere on Saturday…

— It will be Jonathan Bernier vs. Jonathan Quick on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles when the Ducks and Kings face off.

— Phillip Grubauer gets the call for the Washington Capitals when they visit the Nashville Predators and try to prevent Filip Forsberg from recording yet another hat trick. No word yet on who is starting for the Predators.

— Joonas Korpisalo will be giving Sergei Bobrovsky the night off for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they host Thomas Greiss and the New York Islanders.

— The Rangers will go with Antti Raanta for their rivalry showdown with the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider goes for the Devils.

— Huge game in Toronto when it comes to the Atlantic Division standings with the Maple Leafs facing off against a Canadiens team they trail by only four points. It will be a Carey Price vs. Frederik Anderson goalie matchup.

Ryan Miller, suddenly the subject of trade speculation, will start for the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday when they face the San Jose Sharks. Look for Martin Jones to go for the Sharks.

Robin Lehner and Calvin Pickard go for the Sabres and Avalanche respectively on Saturday night in Denver.

Antoine Vermette’s 10-game suspension upheld by Gary Bettman

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The NHL announced on Saturday afternoon that commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 10-game suspension the league issued to Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette for an abuse of official incident that happened earlier this month.

Bettman met with Vermette on Thursday and heard his appeal, and has ruled that the 10-game ban will remain in place.

Vermette was ejected from the Ducks’ Feb. 14 game against the Minnesota Wild after he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso in the leg following a face off. The NHL ruled that it was a Category II abuse of official foul, which carries an automatic 10-game suspension. He has already served four of those games. He will lose $97,222.22 in salary as a result of the entire suspension.

Vermette’s suspension is the third abuse of official suspension we have seen in the NHL over the past two years following the 20-game ban Dennis Wideman received last year (later reduced to 10 games) and the three-game suspension given to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo this season.

After signing a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Ducks in free agency, Vermette has eight goals and 14 assists in 58 games this season.

Blackhawks’ Hjalmarsson ‘day-to-day,’ will not play on Sunday

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11:  Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks fires a shot against the Washington Capitals at the United Center on November 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Capitals defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Just about the only downside to the Chicago Blackhawks’ latest win, a 6-3 dismantling of the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, was the injury suffered by defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

He ended up leaving the game after taking just four shifts in the first period and did not return.

Along with missing almost all of that game, he will also be out of the lineup on Sunday when the Blackhawks look to continue their recent hot streak when they host the St. Louis Blues.

In 60 games this season Hjalmarsson has five goals and nine assists while mostly playing alongside Duncan Keith. On Thursday the Blackhawks had seven defensemen in the lineup and relied on Michal Rozsival to fill some of the minutes left vacated by Hjalmarsson. He ended up scoring his first goal of the season in the win.

The Blackhawks have been on a roll over the past few weeks, winning eight of their past nine games and scoring at least four goals in every win during that stretch.

They will miss Hjalmarsson on Sunday, but it seems to only be a short-term issue.

Kris Letang won’t play in outdoor game; Schultz game-time decision

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 17:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins talks before a faceoff during the game against Colorado Avalanche at PPG Paints Arena on October 17, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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An already shorthanded Pittsburgh Penguins defense is going to be without another key player on Saturday when Kris Letang misses their Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers due to an upper body.

Coach Mike Sullivan announced the news following the team’s morning skate and would only add that Letang remains day-to-day with an upper body injury.

Letang, the Penguins’ best defenseman, played more than 28 minutes in their most recent game, a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

In 41 games this season he has five goals and 29 assists. Ron Hainsey, recently acquired in a trade with the Hurricanes, is going to have to immediately take on a pretty substantial role with his new team.

Anytime the Penguins are without Letang it’s a big deal because of how impactful he is on the blue line, but it is an even bigger issue now given the injury situation they are dealing with. Trevor Daley and Olli Maatta are both sidelined for what will most likely be the remainder of the regular season.

Justin Schultz, a game-time decision on Saturday night according to Sullivan, has missed the past three games due to a concussion.