Good afternoon from suburban Raleigh. The Kings took the ice at 11:30 a.m. at the home of the Carolina Hurricanes and N.C. State and aligned as such:
-The biggest news from this morning is that Tyler Toffoli (lower-body) and Nic Dowd (lower-body) both joined the full team for the morning skate. Toffoli isn’t expected back until one of the first several games after the All-Star break, though Darryl Sutter said that Dowd was a “game-time decision” tonight. I’d be somewhat surprised to see Dowd play against the Hurricanes, though it’s a good sign that a quick return to the lineup is expected after he suffered a day-to-day injury on Saturday. Matt Greene (groin, back) was not on the ice, nor was he spotted in areas that reporters have access to. Peter Budaj was the first goaltender off the ice and is expected to draw the start tonight.
-Devin Setoguchi took a puck flush off his left ear on Tuesday and said that the pain he experienced was worse than any other pain he’d experienced when hit by a puck in his career. To get a sense of how bad the pain was, he said that he’d have preferred if the puck had hit him in his front teeth or on the side of his face. Oof. There was still swelling in the area, and he said that he has dealt with ringing in his ears ever since the incident, but having undergone concussion protocol, doesn’t have any sort of lasting injury that might keep him out of the game. He’ll wear an ear guard on his helmet, as he did after returning to the game against the Devils.
-A trivia question overheard while waiting for Darryl Sutter to speak: Who scored the final goal at the Great Western Forum?
-Carolina is one of six Eastern Conference teams tied with 49 points, the lowest haul in the conference. Do not be fooled by this Hurricanes team, which is one of the more underrated teams in hockey and is exceptionally detail-oriented under Head Coach Bill Peters, who should stick around with this young and blossoming group for a while. Carolina is 15-5-1 at home and boasts the league’s top penalty kill, though they’ve been stuck in a rut recently and have been outscored 20-5 over a four-game losing streak. “We can’t give up what we’ve given up and expect to win,” Peters said. “You can’t give up the quality that we’ve given up and expect to have good numbers defensively, so we’ve got to get back to our identity. We’ve gotten away from what made us successful, and tonight’s an opportunity to get back into it.” Cam Ward will start in goal. It was great to see Bryan Bickell on the ice; he recently resumed skating after his November multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
-More to come from Dwight King and Kyle Clifford, who shed some light on how Los Angeles contends with other teams that have strong detail and positioning in their games, such as Carolina. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.