Los Angeles Hockey: Ian White

Kings: No shakes for Terry Murray after series loss

April, 26, 2011
LOS ANGELES — It's safe to say the San Jose Sharks got in the last word.

On their way out of town following a 4-3 series-clinching overtime victory Monday night at Staples Center, Sharks forwards Jamal Mayers and Devin Setoguchi fired off a couple cyberspace jabs at Kings coach Terry Murray, who earlier in the Western Conference quarterfinal series had issued strong statements aimed at members of San Jose.

“Tough series with 3 OT games!" Mayers wrote on his personal Twitter account about two hours after the game. “Too bad Murray didn't have class to shake hands like players (who bled) and Asst Coaches!”

Murray was apparently not in the traditional center-ice handshake line that immediately follows the end of a series. His whereabouts were not questioned during the postgame news conference, as most reporters were too busy rushing down to the locker room or writing on deadline, to notice.

The players did.

“Would like to know why coach of the kings Terry Murray never shook our hands??,” wrote Setoguchi, who assisted on Joe Thornton's overtime goal. “Might be a first??”

Murray, who will not be available to the media until Wednesday or Thursday, a team spokesman said, criticized members of the Sharks for their dangerous play after earlier losses in the series.

Following a 6-3 defeat in Game 4, Murray called a tripping penalty on Dany Heatley late in the third period a “gutless move,” saying it appeared Heatley was attempting a slew foot on rookie defenseman Alec Martinez, an illegal move in which a player sweeps the leg out from under an opponent, usually from an unsuspecting blindside.

“That’s where you break your leg,” he said. “That’s where you blow your knee out. I hate that play. That’s a gutless move in my mind.”

Following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks in Game 1, Murray said Jason Demers' airborne check on Kings forward Ryan Smyth was “five times as severe” as the hit Kings forward Jarret Stoll leveled on San Jose defenseman Ian White. Stoll was suspended and White also missed Game 2 because of an upper-body injury.

Demers, meanwhile, did not receive a penalty and went on to score two goals in the series and add an assist.

Kings: Hoping to get the message in Game 5

April, 22, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 5

Kings (1-3) vs. San Jose Sharks (3-1) at HP Pavilion, 7:30 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Warning: This is not a recording: The Kings gave up six more goals Thursday night in Game 4, putting them on the doorstep of defeat in the best-of-seven series. What happened to the, eh hem, defense that was sixth out of 30 teams in goals-against average during the regular season? That’s the big question after back-to-back second-period implosions that turned the series around. The Kings allowed five goals to cough up a four-goal lead in the middle period of Game 3, and three straight goals to fall behind for good in Game 4. Some of the collapse could be traced to the season-ending injury of top-line center Anze Kopitar two weeks before the end of the regular season. He was pretty good at both ends.

2. The dirty dozen: Despite the barrage of goals, Kings coach Terry Murray remains adamant about keeping Jonathan Quick in front of the net. An analytical view of the 12 goals in the last two games would likely show Quick didn’t have much of a chance to stop any of them, but from a tactical aspect he’s getting beat badly. Quick has been playing great until San Jose gets its first goal, then the defense starts looking like bunch of lost seals and the Sharks pounce. They might be too good for any goalkeeper at this point, but it would be interesting to see what back-up goalie Jonathan Bernier could do.

3. Parse is back: Scott Parse has been one of those lonely guys in the corner of the locker room this postseason. He missed the first month of the season with a groin injury, came back in early November and scored four points in five games on Kopitar's line, but then had hip surgery related to the previous injury. Parse has been skating for a while and participating in practice since the start of the playoffs but surprised many Friday when he practiced on a line with center Michal Handzus and right wing Justin Williams. He was activated from injured reserve that afternoon and is expected to play in Saturday’s game. Hopefully, his defense is as good as his offense.

4. Odd men out?: With Parse scheduled to be penciled into the lineup and Kevin Westgarth impressing enough to stay on the fourth line, a new face or two is expected to take a seat in the press box as a healthy scratch Saturday night. Westgarth practiced on the fourth line Friday with Oscar Moller, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jarret Stoll and Dustin Penner. Two of those final four names would be scratched. Moller has only played Game 2, when Stoll was suspended for a hit on Ian White in Game 1, but it’s the only game the Kings have won in the series and his speed might be what the team needs. Penner has been a big disappointment since his trade from Edmonton but he’s still a 30-goal scorer. Decisions, decisions…

5. More blackouts: If the Kings don’t get back to scoring goals on the power play, it won’t matter if the defense rebounds or not. They were 21st in the league in power-play efficiency during the regular season but gave fans a sprinkle of hope by scoring three power-play goals in the first two playoff games. After going scoreless with the man advantage the last two games, however, they’re back to riding an 0-for-14 skid. It’s been stated many times before, but the Sharks are tough enough to beat 5-on-5, so opponents have to take advantage of every opportunity, big or small.

Kings: Second period eaten up by the Sharks

April, 20, 2011

LOS ANGELES — After starting the second period on such a high note Tuesday night, the Kings hit rock bottom before it ever ended.

The San Jose Sharks scored five goals in the second period to tie the score in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinal, then won it, 6-5, on Devin Setoguchi's overtime goal, sending a shell-shocked Staples Center crowd walking slowly to the exits.

“That’s as bad as it gets in the second period,” said Kings coach Terry Murray. “We did this to ourselves.”

In the opening minute of the second period, the Kings extended their lead to four goals against the second-seeded Sharks, but then seemed to throw their gears into neutral, becoming helpless to stem San Jose’s surge.

Patrick Marleau slipped one by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to cut the deficit to 4-1.

No harm done.

Two minutes later, Dustin Penner went to the penalty box for an unnecessary roughing penalty at center ice. Ryan Clowe scored on the ensuing power play to cut the lead in half.

The crowd started gettig antsy.

With about 6 minutes remaining in the period, Logan Couture gathered in a cross-pass from Ian White and slammed it into the side of the net to cut the deficit to 4-3.

The crowd was no longer in a festive mood.

The Kings then got some energy back when Ryan Smyth scored 13 seconds later to retake a two-goal lead, but the Sharks turned Staples Center into a library when Clowe scored with 1:25 left in the period, followed by Joe Pavelski's goal with 31 seconds showing on the clock, putting the game back at square one and leaving the crowd gasping.

The Kings had not allowed five goals in a period all season.

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All of sudden it's tied 5-5 after two

April, 19, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 3 (Series tied, 1-1)

After the 1st period:

Kings 5, San Jose Sharks 5

The good: Not much positive to write about when the home team blows a four-goal lead early in the second period. The only bright spot was the offense did manage to tack two more points on the board. The Kings didn’t waste any time adding to their lead three-goal lead after the first intermission. Brad Richardson intercepted a pass in his offensive zone and scored an unassisted goal 44 seconds into the second period for a 4-0 lead. The goal was the second of the game for the Richardson line and third by the bottom two lines. San Jose pulled goalie Antti Niemi after the goal and inserted Antero Niittymaki, who must have brought his good-luck charm. Before the Sharks scored twice in the final 85 seconds to tie the score, Ryan Smyth scored what seemed like a huge goal for the Kings to regain their two-goal cushion. Smyth's goal came 15 seconds after the Sharks had cut the deficit to 4-3. Jarret Stoll brought the puck down the left side and slid a beautiful centering pass to Smyth at the right post and he tucked the puck into the net with 6:13 remaining in the period.

The bad: Just when the Kings thought they could relax and enjoy the lead, the Sharks scored twice in just under four minutes to cut the deficit in half, then twice more in the final two minutes to tie the score and hush the Staples Center crowd. About 2 minutes after taking the four-goal lead, Dan Boyle faked a slap shot and instead sent the puck just wide to Patrick Marleau, who redirected it into the net with Kings defenseman Matt Greene on his back. The Sharks then went on the power play after Dustin Penner was called for roughing and they capitalized with 17 seconds left on the man advantage as Ryane Clowe tipped in a cross pass from rookie Logan Couture with 13:07 left in the period. The damage didn’t end there as the Sharks cut into the deficit again while skating 4-on-4. Ian White, who sat out the last game after taking a hard lick that earned Stoll a one-game suspension for Game 2, slid a cross pass to Couture who had nothing but an open side of the net to shoot at. After the Kings made it 5-3 on Smyth's goal, the Sharks delivered a couple daggers as Clowe and Joe Pavelski took advantage of some poor clearing attempts by the Kings and put the puck past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who is still in the game despite allowing five goals on 25 shots.

The in between: One of the biggest cheers of the period was for Anze Kopitar, the team’s leading scorer who was captured on the big screen watching from the press box. Kopitar went down with an ankle injury with seven games remaining in the regular season and lost for the playoffs. Kopitar looked as if he'd much rather be earning cheers on the ice and the Kings could sure use him about now.

Kings: All square heading into Game 3

April, 19, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 3

Kings (1-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (1-1) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Homeward bound: Road games in San Jose brought out the best and the worst of the Kings this season, so it’s probably no surprise they turned in a dazzling effort in a 4-0 victory Saturday night in Game 2 at HP Pavilion, morphing this series into the most interesting of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now if the seventh-seeded Kings can just find a way to bottle some of that success and ship it south for Game 3. “Utilize what we’ve got right now,” said veteran left wing Ryan Smyth. “Momentum.” In last season’s quarterfinals, the Kings split the first two games in Vancouver, stayed on a roll by winning Game 3 at Staples Center a year ago tonight, but then fell apart and lost three straight.

2. Must be April: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played perhaps his best game of the season in Game 2, totaling two goals and two assists, drawing a couple of early penalties that led to a 1-0 lead and leading the team in blocked shots and takeaways. As he wraps up his third season in the NHL, Doughty is looking like a burgeoning Mr. April, totaling five goals and six assists in eight career playoff games. If he can continue to push himself to that next level and cut down on his defensive-zone mistakes, he might get a chance to become Mr. May.

3. Stoll back from suspension: The Kings will have a key player back in second-line center Jarret Stoll, who was suspended for Game 2 after his check on Ian White in the opener, which sidelined the San Jose defenseman for Game 2. Stoll is a key member of the special teams and the best player in the face-off circle for the Kings. As a nine-year veteran, Stoll also has Stanley Cup finals experience with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006. “He’s a huge part of our team,” said Kings center Trevor Lewis, who helped cover for Stoll in his absence. White is also expected to return for the Sharks.

4. Generating some power: The Kings already have more power play goals in this series (three) than they had in their previous eight games against the Sharks (two). The coaching staff hasn’t made any dramatic adjustments, so the difference might just be the Kings are finally getting some bounces. Doughty and fellow defensemen Jack Johnson used screens to get their slap shots through on the power play in Game 2, and the Kings scored with the man advantage in Game 1 after the defense foiled a short-handed 3-on-1 by the Sharks, leading to a 3-on-1 rush heading the other way.

5. Playoff pressure: The Sharks are likely feeling some added pressure because of their history of under-performing in the playoffs, especially the last three seasons. The Sharks have won six Pacific Division titles since 2002 but have never advanced to the Stanley Cup final. They were the top-seeded team in the West the last two seasons and didn’t get there, including a first-round loss to the eighth-seeded Ducks in 2009. They’ve been seeded No. 2 or higher four of the previous seven seasons but only reached the conference finals twice in that period. When they finally got back there last season, they were swept by Chicago.

Kings: Rookies holding their own in postseason

April, 18, 2011
Alec MartinezJason O. Watson/US PresswireAlec Martinez helped the Kings' defense post a shutout of the Sharks in Game 2 last Saturday.

EL SEGUNDO — The locker room at the Toyota Sports Center was crowded with reporters and cameramen Monday morning, prompting staff members to cover the Kings' logo that centers the room with a large black rug and keep the unsanitary foot prints off their crown jewel.

As large groups of media huddled around the likes of Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, rookie defenseman Alec Martinez slipped in relatively unnoticed, plopped down in the corner of the room and began untying his skates.

Martinez received plenty of attention in his first playoff appearance last week, but it wasn’t they type of debut he envisioned while growing up a Detroit Red Wings fan in Rochester, Mich. With about five minutes remaining in the first overtime against the San Jose Sharks, Martinez lost control of the puck after receiving a pass in cramped quarters, lost his footing and couldn’t get back on defense in time to prevent Joe Pavelski's winning goal.

It was a painful ending to an otherwise solid outing, but Martinez knew there was plenty of time for redemption. He gained that in Game 2, helping the defense combine on a 4-0 shutout that evened the series, 1-1, heading into Game 3 on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

“It was obviously a huge win for us,” Martinez said. “Coming back home with a split there. I thought we did a lot of good things both games. Unfortunately, it didn’t bounce our way the first game, but I think we did a real good job sticking to what we’re good at doing and played pretty well defensively.”

Martinez was recalled from Manchester just before Thanksgiving to fill in for fellow blue-liner Willie Mitchell, who was out because of a broken hand. Martinez scored a power-play goal in his first game with the Kings, a 4-1 loss in Montreal, then cemented a spot on the roster four games later with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime victory against the visiting Red Wings.

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Kings: Down another body, Game 2 awaits

April, 16, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 2

Kings (0-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (1-0) at HP Pavilion, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Stoll-less in San Jose – Just when the sun was beginning to peek out from the clouds, lightning struck again Friday when center Jarret Stoll was suspended for Game 2 following a league review of his check on San Jose defenseman Ian White during a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday night in Game 1. Stoll hit White from behind late in the first period and pinned his head between the boards and his forearm, sending a wobbly White off the ice for the remainder of the game and possibly the series. The Kings will be without their fifth leading scorer, best face-off man and penalty-shot extraordinaire. Other than that, he won't be missed.

2. Schenn-less in San Jose – With the suspension of Stoll, the Kings appeared to have a built-in excuse to bring in Brayden Schenn for a one-game roll out. Schenn, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, completed his stellar junior career Wednesday and was officially the property of the Kings again. But management opted to stick with their original plan and start Schenn out in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. That could be the surest sign that the Kings are already looking toward next year.

3. Make room for Moller – The Kings hoped to bring in John Zeiler to fill Stoll’s spot on the bench, but Zeiler couldn’t clear re-entry waivers and still get to San Jose in time for Game 2. Zeiler isn’t exactly a scoring threat anyway, just somebody to throw on the ice while the skilled guys get a breather. Instead, the Kings will likely reinsert Oscar Moller in the lineup. If he’s going to have any worth, Moller needs to find a way to overcome his small size and tendency to get knocked off the puck too easily.

4. Fighting words – Many have long questioned the value of having Keven Westgarth in the lineup, and the naysayers were louder than ever heading into Game 1. As the team’s heavyweight enforcer, the popular opinion seems to be his skill set will not be needed in the postseason. But there was Westgarth at the end of the first period Thursday, challenging the entire San Jose bench to a fight after the Sharks badly outplayed the Kings and then tried to rough up Justin Williams following Stoll’s hit on White. Westgarth’s intimidation tactics seemed to work, as San Jose backed off on their cheap shots, Williams earned a goal and an assist in the second period and the Kings picked up some much-needed momentum.

5. Heavy finned Sharks? – The absence of White for the final two periods and 15 minutes of overtime left the Sharks with five defensemen, which put extra minutes on the legs of veteran blue liners Dan Boyle and Niclas Wallin. Boyle, 34, finished with 35 minutes of ice time, nearly nine minutes more than his regular-season average. Wallin, 36, was on the ice for 21:21, about 5 minutes more than his average. With just one day off between games, it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.

Kings: Sharks win on Pavelski's goal in OT

April, 14, 2011
Joe PavelskiJason O. Watson/US PresswireSan Jose's Joe Pavelski reacts after scoring his overtime goal to beat the Kings, 3-2, in Game 1.
Western Conference quarterfinal

Game 1

San Jose Sharks 3, Kings 2 (OT)

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: Joe Pavelski scored the winner with 5 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the first overtime at HP Pavilion in San Jose, lifting the Sharks to the victory in the opening game of the best-of-seven series.

THE STAT: Pavelski, in only his fifth season, notched his 16th career playoff goal and third winner in overtime. He set career highs during the regular season with 46 assists and 66 points.

TURNING POINT: It appeared as if the turning point would come 28 seconds into the game, when San Jose scored to take a 1-0 lead, but the Kings made it a game. Just before the winning goal, the Kings has possession in the San Jose zone but rookie defenseman Alec Martinez couldn’t control the puck and then fell to the ice. That allowed San Jose's Kyle Wellwood and Ryane Clowe to set off on a 2-on-2 rush against Matt Greene and Wayne Simmonds. Wellwood slowed up with the puck just inside the Los Angeles blue line as Clowe crashed the net. Pavelski then came up from behind with Martinez in pursuit, but Martinez couldn’t get back in position before Pavelski took a pass from Wellwood and slammed it into the net.

HOT: In his first game back since missing the last nine of the regular season because of a dislocated right shoulder, Kings right wing Justin Williams assisted on the first goal and scored the second, both of which tied the score.

NOT: The disappearing act of Kings left wing Dustin Penner continued into the postseason as he went pointless for the 13th consecutive game. It got so bad for Penner that he was demoted to the fourth line and played only five shifts in the second period. Penner, who was acquired in a trade with Edmonton in late February, still managed to be on the ice for the first two San Jose goals and had two giveaways.

GOOD MOVE: Williams tied the score at 2 with 3:40 remaining in the second period, scooping in a loose puck behind the net after two San Jose defenders converged on Ryan Smyth, leaving Williams unmarked. San Jose goalie Antti Niemi lost track of the puck and was looking over the wrong shoulder when Williams came from behind the net and tucked it inside the post.

BAD MOVE: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty tried to throw a hip check into Sharks rookie and childhood teammate Logan Couture as he carried the puck into the Kings' defensive end. He missed, leaving Couture to go one-on-one against goalie Jonathan Quick and slip the puck through his pads for a 2-1 lead with just less than 10 minutes left in the second period. Doughty also committed an ill-timed tripping penalty with 2:11 left in regulation, but the Kings managed to kill the penalty.

NOTABLE: San Jose defenseman Ian White was knocked from the game late in the first period after getting checked from behind by Kings center Jarret Stoll, smashing his face against the dasher boards. Stoll was not penalized on the play, but expect the league to take a look at the incident for possible disciplinary action. Already down one center with Anze Kopitar sidelined for the season because of an ankle injury, the Kings can’t afford to lose another to suspension.

UP NEXT: Game 2, Saturday at San Jose, 7 p.m. PT