Good afternoon from El Segundo, Insiders. After a day off on Friday, the Kings reconvened on the main rink at Toyota Sports Center at 10:00 a.m. Saturday and were color coordinated thusly:
-It was a fairly rigorous practice, which wasn’t a surprise following the recovery day. In addition to the rushes and flow drills that formally opened the skate, there were three-on-three in-zone drills with a battle and compete element. As some players headed off, the defense remained on the ice for work at the far end of the rink from the dressing room as the forwards worked on shooting lanes at the other end. Jordan Nolan was a full participant and will travel with the team to Calgary and Edmonton, though it’s not yet clear whether he’ll enter the lineup at this point. Nick Shore joined the skate at the end but will not travel on the two-game trip.
-The Kings have successfully killed off 58 of the last 62 shorthanded situations – including each of their last 31 penalty kills on the road – and were two-for-two against a Sabres team that entered Thursday night leading the league in power play percentage. What did they do well to deny Buffalo even a shot on goal in those two power plays? “I think our pressure points on the penalty kill when all four are going together, it’s really hard to get set up and get any shots, so I thought we did a good job of everyone attacking at the right times and reading off each other – ‘if you go, I’m going, he’s going,’ – and then it’s kind of a dead play,” Jake Muzzin said. “I thought we did a really job with that and didn’t allow them to get much and I think defending the rush, too, on the power play. They didn’t really get set up, so that was good.” I’ll have more from Darryl Sutter shortly; he agreed with Muzzin that the team did a good job of making entries difficult, limiting set-up time.
-Andy Andreoff has been checking well in his own zone, and it has led to opportunities at the other end of the ice. He hasn’t scored yet this season, but off the eye test, there appeared to be an uptick in scoring chances as the home stand progressed. “Yeah I mean, I’ve been getting a lot of chances, good looks, so hopefully one comes soon,” he said. As for his line, he said the confidence has been building every game. “You know, we’re building and getting momentum every game, so hopefully we can keep that going. If we’re getting out of the D-zone then Darryl will trust us and get us out there more.”
-Those on the Kings beat often joke that Darryl Sutter is inclined to start practices some 20 minutes early because the team goes by “Viking Standard Time.” Well, we might’ve been on to something.
-More to come before and after takeoff, Insiders. Darryl Sutter quotes will follow. Thank you, as always, for reading.