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Penguins vs. Kings Game Preview

Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 6:00 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Kings Game Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins
Overall:
34-17-4-72
Home: 19-10-1-39
Road: 15-7-3-33

WHEN: Feb. 10, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH:
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM

Los Angeles Kings
Overall:
29-22-2-60
Home: 17-9-1-35
Road:
12-13-1-25

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Los Angeles Kings 
 
      
Anze Kopitar
C -  #11
  16 Goals
  34 Assists
  50 Points
• Posted 61 points (20G-41A) in his rookie season in 2006-07, good for third on the squad, before leading the Kings in scoring each of the next three seasons.

• Established personal-bests across the board last season with 34 goals, 47 assists and 81 points through 82 games.

• The Slovenian center and Kings alternate captain was drafted in the first round (11th overall) by Los Angeles in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
 
Dustin Brown
RW  -  #23
  18 Goals
  21 Assists
  39 Points
• Has led the Kings in hits for five-straight seasons and has ranked among the top-three checkers in the league each of the last four seasons.

• Posted a career-high 33 goals in 2007-08, the same season he led the entire NHL with 311 hits.

• The Ithaca, N.Y. native earned a silver medal while serving as an alternate captain for the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. 
 
Jack Johnson
D  -  #3
  5 goals
   32 assists 
  37 points
• The 24-year-old defenseman signed a seven-year contract extension on Jan. 8 that will keep him patrolling the blue line through the 2017-18 season.

• Was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by Carolina, but never dressed for the Hurricanes as they traded his rights to the Kings on Sept. 29, 2006. 

• Won the 2003 USA Hockey Tier I 17-and-under national championship at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota alongside Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
After a strong start to the season – 12-2-0 through Nov. 12 – the Los Angeles Kings proceeded to drop 10 of 12 contests after Christmas. They’ve since rebounded, sitting just one point from the eighth and final playoff spot in an extremely tight Western Conference. They enter Pittsburgh with a 5-0-1 record in their last six games.

Captain Dustin Brown is the heart and soul of the Kings’ offense. Not only is the left winger offensively gifted (his 18 goals rank second on the squad), but he wreaks havoc all over the ice as evidenced by his team-leading 197 hits. He’s led the Kings in that category for the past five seasons.

His linemate, All-Star center Anze Kopitar, may be one of the most underrated players in the league. The 24-year-old has led the Kings in scoring each of the past three seasons and is continuing his consistent production this year, as his 34 assists and 50 points pace the squad.  Veteran Justin Williams is thriving in his second season with Los Angeles after three-straight injury-plagued seasons that saw him play just 81 games over that stretch, while Ryan Smyth, who played in his 1,000th career game on Nov. 6, is tied for the team lead with 19 goals.

The Kings boast one of the deepest back ends in the National Hockey League. They’re led by two of the league’s best offensive defensemen in Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. Doughty, the Kings’ No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, became the second-youngest Norris Trophy finalist in league history last season at just 21 years old (and in only his second full NHL campaign). He plays an outstanding two-way game, as evidenced by his 59 points (16G-43A) in 2009-10.

Johnson, 24, has already established career-highs with 37 points (5G-32A) – seventh among NHL defensemen – through 53 games while averaging 24:02 minutes per game. He specializes on the power play, with 24 of his points (3G-21A) coming on the man-advantage.

Jonathan Quick, who’s won five-straight starts, will get the nod against the Penguins on Thursday. The workhorse between the pipes saw time in 72 of 82 games (with 70 of those being starts) last season for the Kings, recording 39 wins. Quick, 25, has a perfect 6-0 record in shootouts and his 2.14 goals-against average ranks fourth among NHL netminders.
  • The Penguins announced Wednesday that Evgeni Malkin will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. Malkin’s rehabilitation period will take six months, and general manager Ray Shero said he will be ready for the start of training camp in September for the 2011-12 season. Malkin suffered the injury in an on-ice collision with Buffalo’s Tyler Myers on Feb. 4.
  • This is the only meeting of the season between these two teams (and the first in Pittsburgh since a 4-1 Penguins victory at Mellon Arena on March 20, 2009). Los Angeles skated to a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh at Staples Center on Nov. 5, 2009, powered by a two-goal effort from Anze Kopitar. Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll each notched a goal and an assist for the Kings, while Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz both scored for the Penguins. Prior to that loss, the Penguins had earned a 3-0 record against the Kings dating back to the 2005-06 campaign, outscoring Los Angeles by a 12-6 margin.
  • Thursday marks former Penguin Rob Scuderi’s first game back in Pittsburgh since signing a four-year deal with the Kings on July 2, 2009, after five seasons with the Penguins. Scuderi, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fifth round (134th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, played exactly 300 regular-season games in a Penguins uniform. The Syosset, N.Y. native’s last season in Pittsburgh (2008-09) was his best, as he posted career-highs across the board with 15 assists, 16 points, 81 shots and a plus-23 rating and led the Penguins with 164 blocked shots.
  • Scuderi’s most famous moment in the black-and-gold uniform came in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Detroit in the 2009 playoffs, when he knelt and stopped Johan Franzen’s shot at a wide-open net before blocking Franzen again with his skate. The play helped keep the Wings from winning the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh, as Detroit entered that game with a 3-2 series lead. Scuderi received his Stanley Cup ring when the Penguins visited Staples Center last season.
  • Head coach Dan Bylsma enters tonight’s game with 99 career victories, leaving him one shy of becoming the third coach in franchise history to reach 100 (Eddie Johnson, 232; Michel Therrien, 135).

 

      
Win the Battle of the Blueliners: The Penguins’ and the Kings’ defensive corps are eerily similar. Both teams are led by offensive-minded, smooth-skating blueliners who like to activate and join the rush, but who are also all extremely dangerous manning the point. Kris Letang’s 41 points have him sixth (tied) among NHL defensemen, while Jack Johnson is ranked seventh with 37 points. Same goes for Alex Goligoski and Drew Doughty, who are each tied for 22nd with 28 points.


Pick Up the Garbage: With three of the Penguins’ top-four scorers out of the lineup, Pittsburgh’s healthy forwards need to keep doing what they do best – crashing the front of the net, creating traffic and capitalizing on loose pucks in the crease. They need to steer clear of making pretty plays in an effort to create offense and instead keep their game simple within the Penguins’ system, which is when Pittsburgh’s forwards create the most opportunities.

F Arron Asham, upper body (day-to-day)
F Mike Comrie, injured reserve/hip (indefinitely)
C Sidney Crosby, injured reserve/mild concussion (indefinitely)
F Chris Kunitz, lower body (day-to-day)
F Mark Letestu, lower body (4-6 weeks)
C Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL & MCL (indefinitely)
LW Scott Parse, hip (mid-February)
LW Marco Sturm, knee tendinitis (day-to-day)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Williams/Smyth (19)
A
Crosby/Letang (34) Kopitar (34)
PTS
Crosby (65) Kopitar (50)
PIM
Cooke (106) Clifford (81)
+/-
Crosby (+20) Williams (+17)
PP
Crosby (10) Smyth (8)
SH
Three tied with (2)
Three tied with (1)
W/L
Fleury (25-13-2) Quick (24-14-1)
GAA
Johnson (1.90) Quick (2.14)
SVP
Johnson (.929) Quick (.921)

Tyler Kennedy - Kennedy has been making the most of his expanded ice time in different situations with the influx of injuries to Pittsburgh’s top forwards. With his third-period power-play tally in the Penguins’ 4-1 loss to Columbus on Tuesday, the winger now has three goals in his last four games and 10 on the season. He’s now the seventh Penguin to hit double-digits in goals, with his 25 points good for fourth on the team. His 140 shots on goal ranks fourth on the squad (and second among healthy Penguins).
 
Justin Williams - Williams scored a goal and two assists in regulation before scoring the game-deciding goal in the seventh round of a dramatic shootout in a 4-3 win over Calgary on Feb. 6. The veteran forward led the Kings to their first win in the Flames’ Saddledome since Dec. 21, 2005, as Los Angeles had lost 11-straight contests in that arena. His efforts also helped defeat a Flames squad that hadn’t lost in nearly three weeks. Williams, 29, is now tied for the team lead in goals with 19 tallies through 53 games.
 
 
 
 

Malkin To Undergo Knee Surgery Thursday; Rehab Period Will Be Six Months 
Cooke Suspended for Four Games 
Aftermath: Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 1 
Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Columbus 
AHL Call-ups Helping Keep Pens in Eastern Race 
CONSOL Energy Center Named Best New Concert Venue At 22nd Annual POLLSTAR Concert Industry Awards 
Pittsburgh Penguins and the American Red Cross To Hold Blood Drive on Sunday, Feb. 27 
Call-ups Keep Playoff Mentality

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WHEN: Feb. 10, 2011 - 7:00 pm
WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH: FSN
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

After a strong start to the season – 12-2-0 through Nov. 12 – the Los Angeles Kings proceeded to drop 10 of 12 contests after Christmas. They've since rebounded, sitting just one point from the eighth and final playoff spot in an extremely tight Western Conference. They enter Pittsburgh with a 5-0-1 record in their last six games.

Captain Dustin Brown is the heart and soul of the Kings' offense. Not only is the left winger offensively gifted (his 18 goals rank second on the squad), but he wreaks havoc all over the ice as evidenced by his team-leading 197 hits. He's led the Kings in that category for the past five seasons.

His linemate, All-Star center Anze Kopitar, may be one of the most underrated players in the league. The 24-year-old has led the Kings in scoring each of the past three seasons and is continuing his consistent production this year, as his 34 assists and 50 points pace the squad. Veteran Justin Williams is thriving in his second season with Los Angeles after three-straight injury-plagued seasons that saw him play just 81 games over that stretch, while Ryan Smyth, who played in his 1,000th career game on Nov. 6, is tied for the team lead with 19 goals.

The Kings boast one of the deepest back ends in the National Hockey League. They're led by two of the league's best offensive defensemen in Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. Doughty, the Kings' No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, became the second-youngest Norris Trophy finalist in league history last season at just 21 years old (and in only his second full NHL campaign). He plays an outstanding two-way game, as evidenced by his 59 points (16G-43A) in 2009-10.

Johnson, 24, has already established career-highs with 37 points (5G-32A) – seventh among NHL defensemen – through 53 games while averaging 24:02 minutes per game. He specializes on the power play, with 24 of his points (3G-21A) coming on the man-advantage.

Jonathan Quick, who's won five-straight starts, will get the nod against the Penguins on Thursday. The workhorse between the pipes saw time in 72 of 82 games (with 70 of those being starts) last season for the Kings, recording 39 wins. Quick, 25, has a perfect 6-0 record in shootouts and his 2.14 goals-against average ranks fourth among NHL netminders.


INTERESTING STATS

* The Penguins announced Wednesday that Evgeni Malkin will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. Malkin's rehabilitation period will take six months, and general manager Ray Shero said he will be ready for the start of training camp in September for the 2011-12 season. Malkin suffered the injury in an on-ice collision with Buffalo's Tyler Myers on Feb. 4.

* This is the only meeting of the season between these two teams (and the first in Pittsburgh since a 4-1 Penguins victory at Mellon Arena on March 20, 2009). Los Angeles skated to a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh at Staples Center on Nov. 5, 2009, powered by a two-goal effort from Anze Kopitar. Dustin Brown and Jarret Stoll each notched a goal and an assist for the Kings, while Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz both scored for the Penguins. Prior to that loss, the Penguins had earned a 3-0 record against the Kings dating back to the 2005-06 campaign, outscoring Los Angeles by a 12-6 margin.

* Thursday marks former Penguin Rob Scuderi's first game back in Pittsburgh since signing a four-year deal with the Kings on July 2, 2009, after five seasons with the Penguins. Scuderi, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fifth round (134th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, played exactly 300 regular-season games in a Penguins uniform. The Syosset, N.Y. native's last season in Pittsburgh (2008-09) was his best, as he posted career-highs across the board with 15 assists, 16 points, 81 shots and a plus-23 rating and led the Penguins with 164 blocked shots.

* Scuderi's most famous moment in the black-and-gold uniform came in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Detroit in the 2009 playoffs, when he knelt and stopped Johan Franzen's shot at a wide-open net before blocking Franzen again with his skate. The play helped keep the Wings from winning the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh, as Detroit entered that game with a 3-2 series lead. Scuderi received his Stanley Cup ring when the Penguins visited Staples Center last season.

* Head coach Dan Bylsma enters tonight's game with 99 career victories, leaving him one shy of becoming the third coach in franchise history to reach 100 (Eddie Johnson, 232; Michel Therrien, 135).


KEYS TO THE GAME

Win the Battle of the Blueliners: The Penguins' and the Kings' defensive corps are eerily similar. Both teams are led by offensive-minded, smooth-skating blueliners who like to activate and join the rush, but who are also all extremely dangerous manning the point. Kris Letang's 41 points have him sixth (tied) among NHL defensemen, while Jack Johnson is ranked seventh with 37 points. Same goes for Alex Goligoski and Drew Doughty, who are each tied for 22nd with 28 points.

Pick Up the Garbage: With three of the Penguins' top-four scorers out of the lineup, Pittsburgh's healthy forwards need to keep doing what they do best – crashing the front of the net, creating traffic and capitalizing on loose pucks in the crease. They need to steer clear of making pretty plays in an effort to create offense and instead keep their game simple within the Penguins' system, which is when Pittsburgh's forwards create the most opportunities.


WHO'S HOT

Tyler Kennedy - Kennedy has been making the most of his expanded ice time in different situations with the influx of injuries to Pittsburgh's top forwards. With his third-period power-play tally in the Penguins' 4-1 loss to Columbus on Tuesday, the winger now has three goals in his last four games and 10 on the season. He's now the seventh Penguin to hit double-digits in goals, with his 25 points good for fourth on the team. His 140 shots on goal ranks fourth on the squad (and second among healthy Penguins).

Justin Williams - Williams scored a goal and two assists in regulation before scoring the game-deciding goal in the seventh round of a dramatic shootout in a 4-3 win over Calgary on Feb. 6. The veteran forward led the Kings to their first win in the Flames' Saddledome since Dec. 21, 2005, as Los Angeles had lost 11-straight contests in that arena. His efforts also helped defeat a Flames squad that hadn't lost in nearly three weeks. Williams, 29, is now tied for the team lead in goals with 19 tallies through 53 games.



Author: Michelle Crechiolo

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