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Goaltender LaBarbera will get the start

October 24, 2008|Dan Arritt | Arritt is a Times staff writer.

Despite allowing four goals before getting pulled in Monday night's 4-3 loss to Colorado, Jason LaBarbera will be in net tonight for the Kings when they take on the Blues in St. Louis.

Coach Terry Murray said he will stick with LaBarbera for at least one more game given that most of the goals he allowed were the result of turnovers in the defensive zone.

"Any time you turn it over and have a quick play back at you like that, you're either going to get a spectacular stop or it's going to end up by the goaltender," Murray said. "Unfortunately, for those couple chances that they got, they ended up in our net."

LaBarbera, who has a save percentage of 88.9% (23rd in the league) and a 2.98 goals-against average through the first five games, said he was caught off guard on two goals.

"It was two goals I couldn't do a whole lot on, and then two of them I thought I got caught flat-footed on and I got burned," he said.

"I never like to be pulled, no goalie does, but if you're the No. 1 guy you expect to get back in there."

Murray said he would wait until after tonight's game to decide who would start in goal when the Kings meet the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Calder back in play

Hoping to get more production out of his top scoring line, Murray has replaced rookie left wing Matt Moulson with eight-year veteran Kyle Calder.

Moulson, who will turn 25 next week, has one goal in five games while playing alongside Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar. Calder, 29, was a healthy scratch the last four games.

"He's really been working very hard at getting his game to a higher level," Murray said of Calder. "I've asked him to do a lot of extra skating out there in practice and, in the last week, he's been doing it. I see the positives coming out of it."

While playing for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2005-06, Calder scored a career-high 26 goals and 59 points in 79 games. His ability to work along the boards earned him the nickname "Greasy" early on.

"Moulson is more of a goal scorer and Grease is more of a grinder, so it just gives us a little bit of a different look," Brown said.

Murray also noted that Moulson's "game has tailed off in the last two."

The second line

One group that impresses Murray is the second line of Patrick O'Sullivan, Jarret Stoll and rookie Oscar Moller.

"They've gotten better each game," Murray said. "I like the way Stoll has picked his game up. . . ."

The club needs to make a decision on Moller by Nov. 1, the 10th game of the season. If it keeps him on the roster, it will be responsible for paying his full salary for the season.


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