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Tonight marks the pre-season debut of Kings captain, Dustin Brown. Brown will play on right wing on the Kings top line, along with forward Teddy Purcell and center Oscar Moller. Due to the injury to Jarrett Stoll, Moller has filled in at center. This could be the second line opening night, behind Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar, and Justin Williams. An encouraging sign for Kings fans, however, is that Stoll took part in the Kings non-game day personnel practice noon - 2 p.m.
Purcell is coming off what coach Terry Murray termed the best game he has seen him play in Tuesday night’s 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at STAPLES Center.
For Purcell, Murray’s comments are comforting, but he is determined to continue his high level of play.
"I think I just concentrated on the little things, like the loose puck battles, getting in on the fore check, use my size to my advantage, taking hits to make plays (on Tuesday)," Purcell said. "It’s good that he thought highly of my last game, but like I said it’s only been the first game and I got to prove now I can do that on a consistent basis to be a solid player and help this team win."
So far in training camp, Brown likes what he has seen out of Purcell, noting that he has improved his conditioning and looks stronger with on the puck, something he attributes to an increase in confidence.
"I think Teddy last year was hoping to be here and now he’s saying ‘I’m going to be here’ and I think that’s a huge step forward for him," Brown said.
ESTABLISHING CHEMISTRY EARLY
A lot has been made out of Murray’s establishing set lines early in training camp. According to the players, it’s beneficial to know who they are playing with now so that when the regular season opens, the chemistry is there.
"I’ve always wanted that," Brown said. "From a player’s standpoint, I know from talking to (Stoll), years past you’d play with everyone all through training camp, and then with about a week before the year you’d go with the line you’re in. It just never made sense to me."
Murray said the reason he has decided to do it this way is to prepare the team for the regular season.
"I want to see my best players playing together," Murray said. "I want to see the chemistry that they have to work at developing, and when it does come it’s real good stuff. But the bottom line is I’m looking for the start of the year, first game of the season, I want these guys to be accustomed, in sync, and being able to read and react off each other."
YOUNG STARS SET TO PLAY
Two players who were drafted this past June, Brayden Schenn and Kyle Clifford, will play tonight against the Sharks. Schenn, drafted fifth overall, and Clifford, taken in the second round, will play together on a line with Trevor Lewis. Murray said that for young players like Schenn and Clifford to contribute and play in exhibition games is a sign of how talented they are.
"We expect good things from them, but it’s there, it’s real," Murray said. "They do not look out of place. They look like seasoned veterans in the game the other night against Phoenix at home and they’re in the lineup tonight against one of the premier teams in the league. It’s going to be a very interesting evaluation post game."
MURRAY ON PLAYING IN ONTARIO
"We’re excited about it. It’s a great complex, it’s a tremendous complex in Southern California to go and play and to watch a game. I went down to watch some of the playoffs last year with the Reign, and it’s a packed building. It’s very exciting. There’s a lot of energy, a lot of people who love the game of hockey. All of us are excited about going down there to play this game today and see not only how we’re going to come together as a team, but just to play well for the fans down there. They deserve a good game."
QUICK, SEGAL TO PLAY TONIGHT
Goaltender Jonathan Quick will play all three periods tonight, Murray said. Jonathan Bernier is also on the sheet tonight. Right winger Brandon Segal will make his Kings debut tonight after signing with team in the off-season from Tampa Bay.