Kings Notebook (Oct. 11)
|Drew Doughty took a puck to the face on Saturday night and suffered damage to a few teeth. He is expected to play Monday at New York.
Drew Doughty had no choice. In the second period of the Kings’ victory over St. Louis on Saturday, Doughty was struck in the face by an errant puck and suffered damage to a few teeth. Doughty returned to the game in the third period.
Doughty got stitches and, after the game, still had pain and swelling, so plans were made for him to visit a dentist Sunday. Doughty is expected to play when the Kings face the New York Islanders on Monday.
"He will have that shield put on and he will be in the lineup tomorrow," coach Terry Murray said. "It’s an unfortunate hockey injury, but I was really happy to see him come back and play. That’s a great attitude for a young player to show.
"He didn’t even go down on the play, for crying out loud. It’s pretty amazing that he dealt with it as well as he did."
Doughty missed the second half of the second period but still played 20 minutes, 14 seconds, and assisted on Ryan Smyth’s first-period goal.
The Kings won only 23 of 58 faceoffs (40 percent) against the Blues on Saturday and remain in last place in the NHL in faceoff percentage.
Of particular surprise has been the struggle of center Jarret Stoll, one of the Kings’ top faceoff men last season. Stoll lost 8 of 11 draws against St. Louis.
Stoll dealt with arthritis issues in his wrist at the start of training camp, but has said he is now healthy. Murray said he can’t explain Stoll’s struggles.
"I don’t know the answer," Murray said. "He’s got to get to be 100 percent though, because I’m not going to make a change on it. He’s a center iceman, and he’s one of the better center icemen on our team and in the game. He had great numbers last year, so he’s got to work through it."
The Kings, just 4 for 11 on the penalty kill in their first three games, killed all five St. Louis power plays on Saturday to improve their penalty-kill percentage to 56.2, still the second-worst in the league.
"We talked about Ryan Smyth blocking shots in the game against Minnesota in the third period," Murray said. "That’s what happened again last night in St. Louis. You had (Anze Kopitar) sliding and blocking pucks. It’s that kind of desperation that everybody feeds off, and good things will happen as a result of it."
CREDIT TO FORWARDS
The Kings’ defense did its best work Saturday in the first period, when it held the Blues to three shots on goal (and zero goals). Doughty, in particular, seemed to have his best game of the season.
Murray didn’t argue with that opinion, but sought to clarify one big reason why Doughty, and the rest of the defensemen, had a good night.
"I think as our group of defensemen, it was their best game, but I’ve got to really give the compliment to the tracking forwards," Murray said. "I thought the forwards were outstanding.
"They really worked hard to get back to `home plate,’ everybody had sticks on the ice and were strong in front of the net, and when everybody is working for each other like that, the individual defensemen look good, and as a group they look very good."
Monday’s game starts at 2 p.m. Eastern time because of the Columbus Day holiday. After the game, the Kings will bus to New York City and have some time there, since the Kings don’t play the Rangers until Wednesday night... The Kings’ next victory will be the 1,300th in franchise history.