Kings will start Jonathan Quick in goal at close of 'brutal' trip

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Darryl Sutter said Tuesday the wear and tear of his Kings’ Grammys trip that began Jan. 16 has been “brutal.”

“No rest, no practice, no energy,” the Kings coach said before his team plays the host Phoenix Coyotes (24-18-10) Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Pacific time. “We don’t lose games because of effort, put it that way. You see us always push back and push through, but sometimes your top guys don’t have the energy to do it.”

Yet, should the Kings (30-18-6) beat the Coyotes, they would be positioned to get to the Olympic break, after four straight home games, in a much better state of mind.

The good feelings are present after beating division-rival San Jose, 1-0, Monday -- ending a seven-game regular-season losing streak at the “Shark Tank” that dated to 2010.

Sutter, in fact, said Tuesday morning at Arena, where his team met without skating, he’s going to come right back with goalie Jonathan Quick a night after he ended the Sharks’ six-game winning streak with 23 saves.

“He’s rested, didn’t have a lot last night and he wants to play, so let’s let him play,” Sutter said. “Quicker hasn’t had a tough schedule.”

Quick actually has played in six of the seven games since the trip began, but he was off in the Jan. 21 game at Columbus and has faced 23 or fewer shots in the last four games.

Kings defensemen Willie Mitchell and Drew Doughty were encouraged by how the team reverted to its Stanley Cup-winning style after losing five straight -- including Saturday night’s 3-0 Stadium Series loss to the Ducks.

“That’s how we win, don’t give up goals,” Doughty said after the Kings blocked 24 shots and limited Sharks’ 22-goal scorer Patrick Marleau to one shot.

“If you can block a shot, guys know to block it,” Doughty said. “That’s what it takes all those little things … checks on big players. We needed everyone on the team to out-play the guy across from them.”

The task versus Phoenix, Doughty said, is remembering “we don’t want to get in a race with them.”

Mitchell said the hard work at the close of a long absence from Staples Center underlines the team's fortitude as it heads to reach the Olympic break against Pittsburgh (Thursday), Philadelphia (Saturday), Chicago (Monday) and Columbus (Feb. 6).

“It’s funny how it works, the ebb and flow of the season,” Mitchell said. “You’d like to be on hot streaks all the time, but the reality is it’s not going to happen. A losing streak becomes tougher … you feel like you get to the bottom of a hill and you look at the top of the hill and it seems daunting.

“But then you focus on what you do good as a team, what makes you successful, and this has always been a good, all-around, defensive team who feels like we can beat anyone.

“So winning that way gets our confidence back and reiterates what we do, what we do well and what we’ll have to continue to do to be successful.”

POWER UNPLUGGED: The Kings would be in far better shape if they could solve their power-play woes. By going zero for five Monday, they’ve scored just three goals on their last 36 man-advantages.

Sutter saw the fatigue work against Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter on Monday night.

“It was evident … 'Kopi' and Jeff just didn’t do as much as they wanted to … hard minutes for them,” Sutter said while keeping faith, “We get chances, we’ll score.”

Doughty, who’s on the unit, said he plans to take more shots, looking for his one-timer to break the team's four-game scoreless streak on the power play.

“Simplify, get shots on the net,” he said.


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