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KINGS FYI

Moulson gets some high marks

October 17, 2008|Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writer

When Kings rookie Matt Moulson was put alongside Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown in training camp, there was reason to wonder whether he could keep up with his savvy linemates.

Now, it's almost a question of whether they can keep pace with him.

The 24-year-old left wing got his big chance when Patrick O'Sullivan, who played on the Kings' top line last season, missed camp because of a contract impasse. Moulson kept the job after O'Sullivan signed, having impressed teammates with his willingness to go to the net and ability to finish.

"He works hard, is the main thing I notice," said Brown, no slouch himself. "He has a great shot, and if he can find those open areas he can be really effective, especially with Kopi passing him the puck."

Kopitar praised Moulson's instincts. "He's always dangerous in front of the net," Kopitar said. "Just give him the puck around there and he gets a good shot away. He's really smart on the ice too. Responsible defensively."

Moulson, signed as a free agent in 2006, led Cornell in scoring three times and scored 53 goals in less than two seasons with Manchester of the American Hockey League. His skillful wrist shot over Jean-Sebastien Giguere's glove Tuesday held up as the winner in the Kings' 6-3 win over the Ducks.

"I've always seemed to be able to find the pucks down low and near the crease, so I just pick up the garbage, I guess," Moulson said Thursday after practice in El Segundo.

"With those guys my job is just to get in on the forecheck, play solid defensively, get to the net, get pucks to those guys and bang in the garbage goals."

He acknowledged being nervous in his first game but has settled in nicely.

"Once I get used to who I'm playing with, I get more comfortable and confident," he said. "Those guys are unbelievable players, so you've got to work twice as hard to keep up with them sometimes."

And in goal . . .

Goaltender Jason LaBarbera will start his fourth consecutive game tonight. Coach Terry Murray said he might use backup Erik Ersberg when the Kings play back-to-back games next weekend.

Murray also said he's "interested" in getting defenseman Kyle Quincey in the lineup and may have him skate in tonight's warmups before deciding. Drew Doughty, recovered from flu-like symptoms, will play.

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helene.elliott@latimes.com

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