There were no lineup surprises for the Kings this morning. Jack Johnson and Willie Mitchell, who missed practice yesterday, both skated today and will play tonight (Mitchell said he had suffered a “bruise,” and nothing more). Terry Murray also stuck to his plan of playing Alexei Ponikarovsky, Trevor Lewis and Kevin Westgarth on the fourth line, meaning Andrei Loktionov, Davis Drewiske and Peter Harrold will be healthy scratches and also meaning that Marco Sturm will have gone through the entire six-city road trip without getting into a game. Sturm continues to skate every day, and it’s essentially Murray’s call as to when he returns to the lineup. Here’s what Murray said after today’s skate…
MURRAY: “Loktionov is coming out of the lineup. I went over some of the stuff from the Ranger game again last night, when I got back to my room, just to confirm everything in my own mind, about what I was seeing. I think the view of it is the same, that he got exposed a little bit in some of those important situations. So we’ll just back away, with this game, and give him a little bit of a break.”
Question: MItchell and Johnson are OK to play?
MURRAY: “Mitchell and Johnson are playing. They’re going to be good players. I talked to both of them after the skate. They feel good and ready to go, and not just to play the game. We need them to be good players, and they’re good.”