With Matt Greene “banged up,” Alec Martinez will draw into the Kings lineup tonight and should see even strength time alongside Willie Mitchell. Though Martinez is a left-handed shot who has played the majority of his Kings minutes on the left side, he’ll get most of his five-on-five looks on the right side against Buffalo.
The Kings are 21-7-1 in the last 29 games Martinez has been in the lineup, including a 4-1-0 record in 2013-14. Through five games this season, Martinez has recorded a plus-2 rating, though he has been held scoreless. He has not played since Los Angeles’ 2-1 shootout win at Nashville on October 17.
On adjustments he has to make when playing right defense:
When you’re right side, you’ve got to throw a couple of head checks in, especially when you’re receiving pucks. For me, on that right side, you’ve got to throw a few looks up the wall, just because that’s just kind of natural in your blind spot…Just little things, taking pucks off the walls and things like that in the offensive zone – it’s a little different, but I’m a hockey player, so I’ve got to be able to play both sides.
On whether there are any changes with several bodies out of the lineup:
Obviously you can’t just outright replace a guy like Jeff Carter or Matt Greene. But I think that we’ve got a lot of depth in this locker room and a lot of guys that can play a lot of different roles and step up when we need ‘em to step up, too. Obviously you can’t replace guys like that, but we’ve got a lot of good hockey players in here. [Reporter: More of an opportunity for other guys to showcase themselves a little bit, getting that chance?] Yeah, for sure. Obviously with injuries throughout the year, other guys are pushed into spots that may be a little more than what they normally have. It’s a good opportunity to play well and show that you can do it.
On whether the team will be focusing more on its own game than Buffalo tonight:
Yeah. I mean, we obviously know that they’re a good hockey club. They’ve got a…high powered offense up front. I think that that’s one thing that we’ve kind of taken a focus on. We’ve had what, four days without a game, and that’s what we’ve kind of been talking about – it’s just focus on our own game and focus on what we do best to make sure that we come out and play our best game.
On playing with Willie Mitchell:
I’ve played with Mitchie before. I guess it wouldn’t have have been last year. It was the year before. But I’ve played a handful of games with him. And, you know, throughout the season you end up practicing with every guy. It doesn’t really matter. We were working together on some things yesterday, and then again this morning. We’ve had a lot of communication, and that’s important. But we’ve got a lot of D-men in here, and we can all play with each other.
On whether he played on the right side in college:
I mean, obviously growing up you play both sides, but I predominantly played the left side in college. I played some in the minors, and I’ve played some here. I’m used to it.
On Matt Moulson and the talent on the 2008-09 Manchester Monarchs:
We had a really good hockey club. I guess I’ve never really thought about it until now, but we had a lot of guys on that team that are some pretty big stars in the NHL in Purcell in Tampa, and Brian Boyle was on that team. Obviously, Quickie and Bernie and Slava. There were a lot of guys. Moulson. But yeah, we had a pretty good hockey club.