Kings: Schenn, Westgarth out; Clifford, Lewis in; Bernier to start Wednesday
Four days between games gave Kings Coach Terry Murray plenty of time to tinker with his linep for Wednesday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Staples Center--not that he normally needs much time at all to juggle things.
But sometime between his team's victory over Vancouver last Friday and Tuesday's practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo he decided to reconfigure his fourth line by taking out rookie Brayden Schenn and enforcer Kevin Westgarth and replacing them with Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis. The center on that line will be Brad Richardson.
Murray also said he plans to kick off a seven-game, 11-day stretch by starting Jonathan Bernier in goal Wednesday and switching to Jonathan Quick in net Thursday at Glendale, Ariz., against the Phoenix Coyotes.
"The way I look at it in the early part, when I penciled these games in on the goaltending side of it, I look at our No. 1 goaltender, Quick, being the goalie that I want to have in division games," Murray said.
The changes on the fourth line are a reward for Lewis, who has yet to play this season, and Clifford, who played the first two games but was scratched for the next two.
"I want to get Lewis into the game. He’s been coming out of the training camp and sitting there patiently waiting to get going," Murray said. "I’m going to put Clifford back in. ... You have young players who have gone through the summer, the training camp, put in a great amount of work and had real good camps so I want to give them that opportunity.
"Same thing with Clifford. He played a couple games, I took him out. I needed to address a couple areas with him and now the same scenario pops up with Schenn, which I talked to him about this morning -- about parts of the game that we’ll just keep giving him a push on the days off, on the ice and through video review."
Those parts Murray mentioned are the defensive aspects of the game, saying he felt Schenn was overmatched by Vancouver's Daniel and Henrik Sedin last Friday. "They recognize a young player and there were some situations there that we needed to address," Murray said. "Get him to close faster, be more firm in those situations."
Schenn said his confidence hasn't been damaged by being scratched.
"I thought I played fairly well in the games that I did play. A few breaks here or there it would have been a different story," he said.
"You just have to keep working hard and don’t let it bother you and try get back in. I don’t know how long I’ll be out and hopefully I’ll be back soon. Main thing is just keep working hard and not let it bug you."
I'll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports, including a chat with Anze Kopitar about the zero next to his name in the goalscoring column.