March 11 morning skate notes: Quick expected to start; Gravel could play - LA Kings Insider

Good morning from El Segundo. I hope you are reading this from the shade of a palm tree while sipping a cold beverage, because it’s just too nice to be inside, Insiders. Meanwhile, from the cool confines of Toyota Sports Center, the Kings aligned thusly in advance of their game tonight against the Washington Capitals (7:30 / FOX Sports West / FOX Sports GO / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio):


Extra: McNabb

-Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice and is expected to start against the Capitals. In eight career games versus Washington, Quick is 6-2-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. For what it’s worth, Ben Bishop, who earned a win in his lone appearance against the Capitals this season, is 2-6-1 with a 3.42 goals-against average and .891 save percentage against Washington in his career.

-Both Kevin Gravel and Brayden McNabb took shifts alongside Alec Martinez, though Gravel was the first player off the ice whereas McNabb remained on for a little bit of work. Expect both players to take the ice in warm-ups, but Gravel appears to have a pretty good opportunity to get into his first game since the overtime loss at Minnesota on February 27. Neither Jordan Nolan nor Nick Shore took part in the skate.

-This may come as a surprise to some: The Kings, and many players, in general, do not watch hockey or pay close attention to other games on off-nights, even in the heat of a playoff race. “I mean, I’ll check the standings every morning probably but it’s not like I’m looking at the score of the games while they’re happening,” Dustin Brown said. “Kind of just wake up in the morning, see where you’re at and go from there.” Story to come.

-A photo from Washington’s last win at Staples Center:

Noah Graham / Getty Images

The night was December 14 2005, and since then Los Angeles has won six straight at home in the series. Eric Belanger and Sean Avery scored for the Kings, and Jamie Heward (two goals) and Brian Sutherby scored for the Caps. Heward’s second came with 1:03 remaining, making a winner out of Olaf Kolzig (24/26). Jason LaBarbera (26/29) took the loss for L.A. Players from that game who are still active in the NHL: Michael Cammalleri, Dustin Brown and Alex Ovechkin.

-Tonight’s Caps team is better than the 2005-06 outfit that finished 29-41-12 and amassed a -69 goal differential. They’re leading the NHL with 95 points, though with regulation losses in two straight, the Blue Jackets and Penguins (both with 95 points) are beginning to breathe down their necks a bit. At only 5-4-1 since their bye week, brows are furrowing as goatees are being stroked in our nation’s capital. Washington was 17-2-1 heading into the break, so Barry Trotz moved the forward lines around at yesterday’s practice in El Segundo. “We had really great success before the break there, and coming out of the break, I kept the same,” Trotz told reporters, as noted by Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. “I thought they’d sort of re-spark, and they quite haven’t. What I’ve learned with this group and the guys is that we move them around and they sort of find their way a little bit. And you can always go back to the old reliable lines. At some point, we probably will do that. Right now, we just need a little spark, a little interest, a little more production at five-on-five for us.” Expect the forward lines to shape up as Johansson-Backstrom-Oshie, Ovechkin-Kuznetzov-Wilson, Connolly-Eller-Williams and Winnik-Beagle-Vrana. Kevin Shattenkirk has assists in three straight games, representing his only points since joining the Capitals via trade.

-More from Khurshudyan – plus a conversation with AEG Sports COO Kelly Cheeseman – in the latest Kings Men Podcast:

-Tonight’s officials are referees Frederick L’Ecuyer and Brad Watson and linesmen Michel Cormier and Ryan Gibbons. Pia Toscano will sing the national anthem. Anze Kopitar will be my Kings Live pre-game guest. Lots more to come, Insiders, beginning with Darryl Sutter quotes. Let’s talk soon.

Morning skate photos, courtesy of Jon Bradley:

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.