After weathering a heavy along the boards by Chicago forward Brandon Bollig late in the third period last night, Drew Doughty is expected to play in tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center.
“I’m assuming he’ll play,” Darryl Sutter said. “He wasn’t hurt, so unless you know something I don’t know…”
He added: “It was a good hit.”
It appeared to be a borderline play in which a boarding call could have been assessed, and Doughty wasn’t particularly pleased with the collision.
“I haven’t seen the hit, but the thing that frustrates me the most is who hit me, really. If it’s a top line guy or something like that – it’s their tough guy, their fourth line guy, and I don’t know,” he said. “I thought it was a hit from behind, but whatever. It could’ve been the difference in the game, too. We could’ve gotten a power play and maybe scored to tie it up, but it didn’t get called and we’ve just got to move on.”
The Kings will get another crack at the Stars after losing to their former Pacific Division rivals in the final game before the Christmas break. The teams have split a pair of 5-2 decisions this year, with both games taking place at STAPLES Center. Tonight’s game marks both the finale of the regular season series and the final game of the season’s first half.
“We played them not too long ago, so we know what to expect from them,” Doughty said. “We’ve got to shut down that top line, obviously. If we can do that, I think from there on out we just have to attack their goalie and get some pucks by him and we should be fine.”
The Stars rank tied for sixth in the league with an average of 31.8 shots per game, while their average of 32.4 shots against is the sixth highest total. An up-tempo team that can trade chances at opposite ends of the rink, Sutter didn’t see much use in comparing Dallas to Chicago’s attacking style.
“Well, Chicago doesn’t trade chances,” he said. “Chicago is the Stanley Cup champions. Stanley Cup champions don’t trade chances.”
Sutter also stopped short of likening last night’s game to a playoff game.
“It was a good game, but I don’t think Joel was into matching up,” he said. “There was a little bit of Toews of against Kopi, and there wasn’t a whole lot of Seabrook and Keith against Kopitar, so not really.”