Will a return to the third line get Dustin Penner’s production going? Penner spent the previous two games in a first-line look, with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, and the result was one shot on goal, one minor penalty and a minus-2 rating. So, the Kings will try something different. With first-line winger Simon Gagne expected to return Thursday, Penner will return to the third line, alongside Jarret Stoll and Brad Richardson. That’s a role in which Penner seemed to have his best game of the season, last week in Dallas, so Terry Murray will give it another look Thursday. Penner has one point, an assist, in nine games this season.
MURRAY: “I don’t know if it was the fact that he started to play with Stoll and Richardson, or exactly what it was, but there seemed to be a little more work involved on his part of the game. I think there was more movement in the offensive zone, using his size. I liked the way he got involved in the physical part of the game, in several of those looks in the offensive zone in the past couple games. But I still feel that he is sometimes looking for the perfect play to shoot the puck. Get back to that movement, get back to cycling, get back to reading off each other, with a little better spacing in the offensive zone. When you work at that part of it, I think the offensive part falls in place much easier.
“His overall effort is good. His work is good. He started to show me that when I put him with Stoll and Richardson. So I just said, `I liked it.’ He liked it. I talked to him on the plane, on the flight to Dallas. We reviewed all of his shifts from the previous game. When you put it under the microscope, and watch the first period when he was with Kopi, and then the second and third periods when he was with Stoll, there was a lot of offensive-zone time. In fact, every shift that he was on the ice with Stoll and Richardson in the second and third periods, it was in the offensive zone. So when we watched it, clearly that jumps out at you, and he said, `Yeah, that looks pretty good. It felt good, too.’ That’s why I’m going to leave him with Stoll and Richardson. Keep bringing that work ethic to the game, most importantly, and the other parts of things will fall in place for him.’’