Muzzin poised to return for Game 3, potentially alongside Doughty - LA Kings Insider

Though John Stevens didn’t confirm his availability, Jake Muzzin will be expected to make his return to the LA Kings lineup for tonight’s critical Game 3 against a Vegas Golden Knights team that has a two-to-nothing lead in the teams’ best-of-seven first round series.

Muzzin hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury during Los Angeles’ 3-0 win over Calgary on March 26. He etched out perhaps his finest individual season as a pro, posting eight goals and a career-high 42 points in 74 games and leading team regulars with a 52.9% Corsi-for percentage.

“I think he’s really close. I think he’s going to be a game-time decision,” Stevens said. “But we were just joking there – Muzz, he’s begging to stop getting a conditioned skate every day, so we we thought we’d get him in a regular rotation today. He’s working really hard. I think he’s close, so we’ll see. I haven’t talked to the trainer yet, but I’ll make sure to talk to him and see where he’s at, and then we’ll go from there.”

Muzzin skated to the left of Drew Doughty, who did not play in Game 2 due to an NHL-imposed suspension for an illegal check to the head of Golden Knights forward William Carrier in Game 1. Though Doughty had skated primarily with Derek Forbort (who remains out with a lower-body injury) in the second half of the season and Muzzin with Christian Folin, their reunion would reprise a partnership that provided excellent minutes during the Kings’ Stanley Cup run of 2014. Again, Stevens did not confirm Muzzin’s place in the lineup, but he did confirm that he has been cleared for contact, and Muzzin indicated he’d play Sunday night.

“Yeah it’s been a long time,” he said. “I’m excited. You know, it’s tough to watch, … but I’m excited to get back in and try and help the guys win.”

John Stevens, on the potential of having Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin back for Game 3:
I thought we had some guys come in and really step up big. I think oscar’s come in and done a really good job. But with Drew in your lineup, you’ve got a guy that plays big minutes in all situations that can really control the pace of the game, and I think beyond Drew as a player, he’s one of the leaders on our hockey team. The amount that he’s grown as a leader on our team has far surpassed his improvement as a player, and I think that’s been huge for our team. I’ve said this many times; he’s the most competitive guy that I think I’ve ever seen. To add that back to your lineup for us is just good for the group.

Jake Muzzin, on being cleared to take contact:
There’s a series of tests you have to pass until you get to that point and we reached it, so we’re all good.

Muzzin, on what he saw of the series from watching upstairs:
Yeah there’s lots. When you sit down to watch, you tend to see the teams and players and stuff like that. So, you know, I’m not going to tell you guys, but I think we saw some areas we can improve on and we talked about them and we’re going to execute tonight.

Muzzin, on whether it feels like the full team is back:
Yeah, we’re still missing one, but you know it’s definitely—you know, the young guys went in and did and played really hard. It’s a tough environment to go into. You know, some guys haven’t played for a while so they’re thrown into a playoff game and a double OT. I mean it’s a tough situation, but they played their [tails] off. So, it was great to see, but we’re definitely excited to have Drew back and myself, so I think it should be a good push tonight.

-Lead photo: Aaron Poole/NHLI

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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

Bio

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.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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

Bio

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.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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

Bio

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.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

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

Bio

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.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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

Bio

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.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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

Bio

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.

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