Kings' Carter listed as day-to-day following MRI
There's still some concern around the Kings in regard to the status of star winger Jeff Carter, but the team was able to exhale a bit after Carter underwent an MRI on his injured ankle Monday morning.
The test revealed a deep bone bruise on the ankle but no fracture or structural damage.
Carter missed his third consecutive game when the Kings beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 on Monday, and it's not yet known when he might be able to return to the lineup. The Kings have two regular-season games remaining, starting with Thursday's home game against San Jose.
Carter is officially considered day-to-day by the team, and coach Darryl Sutter indicated he won't spend much time fretting about Carter's return date.
"It really doesn't have any impact, other than that we miss him in the lineup," Sutter said. "What the results are, it doesn't really matter. He's getting better. They're not going to amputate, I don't think, or anything like that."
Carter suffered the ankle injury during the March 28 game in Calgary, and he has spent the past few days getting around with the help of a walking boot and crutches.
"This time of year ... guys walk around with boots when they're not playing," Sutter said.
Shutout win boosts division-title hopes
--With their 2-0 win over the Oilers on Monday, the Kings stretched their lead in the Pacific Division to two points over Phoenix, thee points over San Jose and four points over Dallas. The division winner will get the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs; the division's fourth-place team (and possibly the third-place team, too) will miss the postseason.
The Kings finish the season with a home-and-home set of games with the division rival San Jose Sharks.
San Jose, Phoenix and Dallas each have three games remaining. Colorado, clinging to life with 88 points, has two games left.
--Almost every coach talks about wanting to roll four lines, but most of them can't pull it off on a regular basis. When things get tight, coaches shorten the bench. Darryl Sutter hasn't been immune, but the play of the Kings' fourth line has regularly allowed Sutter to play the unit 10-plus minutes per game, reducing the minute load on his top two lines.
"It's not just using them," Sutter said. "They have to be able to contribute. If they can't, if you're just doing it to give someone a rest -- same with the defensemen or the goalies -- if you have a mind-set, as a coaching staff, that you're just doing it to give someone else a rest, and they're not contributing, then everybody is failing."
--The Oilers have been among the Western Conference's least-successful teams for most of this season, but they haven't made life easy for the Kings. In Los Angeles' battle for a playoff spot in the West, the Kings had faced the Oilers three times previously this season before Monday, and they had come away with a 1-1-1 record.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not who is ahead of you, it's who is behind you and what they have left. If you look at the teams' records in the last six or seven weeks, in our last 20 games, we've lost four games maybe. What more can you ask? Not much. That's why you've got to stay focused on one game." -- Kings coach Darryl Sutter, on the Western Conference playoff race.
--G Jonathan Quick made 19 saves Monday against Edmonton for his 10th shutout of the season. Quick had already set a franchise record for shutouts in a single season. Now, the Kings have set a franchise single-season record with their 11th overall shutout. G Jonathan Bernier has one shutout.
--LW Brad Richardson, after a long stint as a healthy scratch, is getting a chance to prove himself in a major role. With RW Jeff Carter out of the lineup, Richardson has moved onto the first line alongside C Anze Kopitar and RW Dustin Brown. On Saturday in Minnesota, Richardson scored two goals and missed several chances for a hat trick. "This is the time of the year that's really fun," Richardson said. "Everyone looks forward to this. It's definitely not fun (being scratched), but it's a chance for you to sit back and watch what's going on in a game and work out hard." He had an assist and was a plus-1 on Monday.
--C Anze Kopitar has been on a scoring binge of late, and he is the Kings' team leader in goals and points. Might Kopitar end up being a candidate for the Lady Byng Trophy? The award is given to the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." Among the NHL's top 20 scorers, entering Monday's games, Kopitar had the sixth-fewest penalty minutes, and he is considered an honest two-way player. Kopitar has never been nominated for an NHL trophy.
--D Davis Drewiske sat out his 26th consecutive game as a healthy scratch, but are the Kings looking to get Drewiske in a game before the end of the regular season? Coach Darryl Sutter hinted at that Monday, and he put Drewiske in the pregame warmups before he made him a healthy scratch. Sutter said he wants to get Drewiske into a game-day routine -- he also participated in the team meeting after the morning skate -- in the event that the Kings need Drewiske to play in a game.
"The number-one thing is, even if they're not playing, they have to practice like they're preparing to play," Sutter said of Drewiske and other regularly scratched players. "If they are practicing like that, then the next step is to put them into a routine on game day and game night."
Drewiske, a stay-at-home defenseman, has two goals and no assists in nine games this season.
--RW Jeff Carter (ankle) was hurt March 30, and his status is considered day-to-day.
--LW Simon Gagne (concussion) was placed on injured reserve Dec. 28. He is out indefinitely.
--LW Scott Parse (hip) was placed on injured reserve Nov. 9, and he underwent surgery Dec. 2. Parse might be out for the season.