Notes: Kings still tough; Franzen hopes to return Sunday

Jonathan Quick is 5-1-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average and .950 save percentage.

Rick Osentoski

Rather than hoping for dumb luck like they had the last time they played the L.A. Kings at home, the Detroit Red Wings know they’ll need to be better to beat them.

The Kings are near the top of the league with a 6-1-2 record in their first nine games.

"They’re good," goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "They’re so deep, they’re good at every single position. Seems like they’re scoring quite a few goals these days so they’re a dangerous team. They’re a team that likes to get in on the forecheck and bang away, just use their physical size."

Instead of the usual suspects, it’s Tyler Toffoli who leads the Kings in scoring with five goals and eight assists. 

Toffoli’s line mate Jeff Carter has five goals and seven assists.

"He’s a real good player," coach Mike Babcock said of Carter. "I know him real good, just had him at the Olympics. He can play with and without the puck. He’s got a bomb of a shot. He scores for fun. I didn’t know who (Tyler) Toffoli was to tell you the truth, I didn’t know him that good, but every time I see him he’s shooting it. And (Tanner) Pearson seems to be a real good player. Those are guys I don’t know real good. I’ll get to know them better. They’re real good players, but there’s a whole bunch of other guys on that team that are real good players."

Among those good players is goaltender Jonathan Quick, who is 5-1-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average and .950 save percentage.

"I think just getting traffic in front of him," Gustav Nyquist said of beating Quick. "It’s hard for any goalie if you don’t see the puck. I think that’s the biggest thing. Obviously they’re athletic and quick laterally so getting guys in front will help."

The Kings are also a bigger team, which presents its own challenges.

"You look at a lot of those teams that can get in on the forecheck that are big and strong and fast, Anaheim is another team that can do that," defenseman Brendan Smith said. "It’s definitely challenging on the D side, and if they get rolling around they’re obviously putting some wear and tear on us. It’s definitely difficult, but I think why we’ve been successful is because we’ve been able to break out fast and not sustain all of that defensive zone."

FRANZEN SHOOTS FOR SUNDAY

Johan Franzen was able to participate in all of practice but said he’s not ready to go Friday.

"Just went as hard as I could," Franzen said. "Felt good. Not great, but good. I’m hoping for Sunday."

The Wings travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres Sunday.

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