Drew Doughty is relishing the opportunity to, once again, fight back from the brink of elimination.
“I love these opportunities, I love the pressure,” the Kings’ top defenseman said, per NHL.com. “I know that going into these situations I’m going to be counted upon and in order for us to win I’ve got to be at the top of my game, so, I just look forward to these opportunities.”
Down 3-2 to the Ducks, the Kings have to win tonight at home and Friday in Anaheim to advance to the Western Conference Final. One loss and their season is over.
Doughty was excellent in the four must-win games the Kings played in the first round against the Sharks, with a goal and three assists combined…
…but in three consecutive losses to the Ducks, after L.A. won the first two games of the series, he’s been held pointless, with a minus-2 rating.
“I just want to go out there and play defensively,” Doughty said. “That’s always my main thing, shutting down the other team’s top line, and then after that, trying to get involved in the offense, and still don’t think I’ve played my absolute best this series, so I’m going to need to do it at home [tonight].”
Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.
But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.
On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.
Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.
Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.
One day after getting benched for showing up late for practice — following an “epic” Super Bowl party, per Sportsnet — Calgary forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma apologized for their actions.
“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”
“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”
More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.
Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”
“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”
The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.
Afterward, Hartley downplayed the incident, saying “it’s not like they robbed a bank,” before adding “they’re great kids.”
Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)
You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Some relevant linkage for tonight’s tilt:
NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Penguins renew acquaintances on Rivalry Night
Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’
‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds
Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week
Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week
Maybe Dean Lombardi and Kevin Cheveldayoff still have something to discuss after all.
Sure, those Dustin Byfuglien-to-Los Angeles rumors are now dead — On Monday, Big Buff signed a five-year, $38 million extension with the Jets — but a new rumor has emerged, one that suggests the Kings are interested in another of Winnipeg’s pending UFAs:
More, from the Free Press:
The common thinking now regarding Ladd is with Byfuglien now committed to a new five-year, US$38-million extension, the window to re-sign the captain is being slammed shut, especially knowing the young core of Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry all become restricted free agents this summer and will earn raises.
[Cheveldayoff], not surprisingly, offered no hints Monday after the Byfuglien announcement. Sources say the Jets and Ladd’s camp have kept communication open, but that hardly means a deal is close to getting done. In fact, if anything, the Byfuglien signing has only cranked up more Ladd speculation, including rumours the Los Angeles Kings — who were also thought to be in on any potential Byfuglien trade discussion — may now turn their attention to the Jets captain.
Ladd’s currently in the last of a five-year, $22 million deal with a $4.4M cap hit and, per TSN senior correspondent Gary Lawless, is seeking a six-year extension “with an average annual value north of $6 million.”
Which explains why the Jets might be forced to move him.
That L.A. is in the mix shouldn’t come as a surprise. Lombardi has a history of swinging for the fences with his deadline acquisitions — Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik and Andrej Sekera, to name a few — and Ladd has a ton of postseason experience, with two Stanley Cups on his resume.
Report: Jets, Ladd break off contract talks