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KINGS FYI

Alexander Frolov knows Kings need him to shoot more

He says he'll 'try to keep it in mind.' But with only four goals so far this season, the veteran winger will try to raise his game a notch.

November 21, 2009|By Helene Elliott

Wayne Gretzky once said, "One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in," and in a game that featured 39 shots by the Kings on Wednesday, Alexander Frolov nearly gave himself a 100% chance of not scoring.

Frolov, promoted to the first line in place of injured left wing Ryan Smyth, didn't take a shot until the final minute of the Kings' 3-2 loss to the Flyers. That won't fill the scoring void created by Smyth's absence and won't contribute to the kind of offensive pressure the Kings want and will need when they face the Flames at 1 p.m. Saturday at Staples Center.

Frolov said Friday he will "try to keep it in mind and shoot when I have some chances," though he said he won't force a shot if passing to line mates Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams might be a better play.

But as Frolov himself noted, teammate Jarret Stoll'ssharp-angled goal against Brian Boucher on Wednesday was proof that strange things can happen when you put the puck on net.

"Probably we have to focus on that more, to get somebody in front of the net to have some net presence. It's what we're talking about lately," he said after the Kings concluded an energetic practice in El Segundo that included a few glass-rattling checks.

Frolov isn't the same player as Smyth, who has made his living around the net. Frolov operates more on the perimeter, controlling the puck and looking for a perfect shot.

It has worked -- he had 32 goals last season -- but he has scored only four times this season and was a healthy scratch once. He has improved his work ethic to the satisfaction of the coaching staff but now must take it up another notch.

"I don't really try to change. I just try to play my best," he said of collaborating with Kopitar and Williams. "We have great players in the lineup and I think we can do a lot of damage in the offensive zone. It's pretty good to have someone at the net sometimes, and we just have to do it more often and put some pucks at the net."

Kopitar said he and Williams might need "a couple of games" to get used to their new line mate, "but not too long, of course."

"I think Fro is more of a corner guy and Smitty is more of a net-front guy and behind-the-net guy. So you definitely have to adjust to that," Kopitar added. "That's going to change me and Willie a little bit. We've got to get to the net a little more often, but with Smitty before, he was there all the time, so we didn't have to worry about that. But now we're going to have to crash a couple more times a game and just get used to it."

Frolov will have to adjust too.

"Sure. It's not just us," Kopitar said of himself and Williams. "He's really strong around the net. When he protects the puck I don't think I've seen any better to do it from any player in the league. He had one shot, I think I had six. It all equals out."

Coach Terry Murray said the players' changing room at the practice facility has a message board that displays the number of shots each player takes and compares that with the number of shots taken by the NHL's top 10 scorers.

"It's awareness to it, that you have to shoot the puck," he said.

What's their line?

The left wings on the third and fourth lines switched places Friday and will stay there Saturday. That puts enforcer Raitis Ivanans with MichalHandzus and Wayne Simmonds, and moved Teddy Purcell alongside Brad Richardson and Peter Harrold.

Murray said he moved Ivanans up "because I need to play him more. Not only him, it's the three guys that are on the fourth line. We need to get more minutes for them," because the Kings have played more games than most teams and the top two lines have played a lot.

Purcell has been a healthy scratch twice recently and hasn't scored since the third game. For a player with good size and good hands, it's a disappointment.

Murray said he's "pretty patient" with Purcell, who had been expected to contribute more. "He brings a special skill to the game and we have that awareness to it," Murray said. "Special teams -- power play, especially -- he's very good there."

But the numbers aren't there.

"No. I know," Murray said. "We're just going to stay on it and see where it takes us right now."

Slap shots

Defenseman Rob Scuderi will sit out his third straight game because of a lower-body injury. However, he's scheduled to skate with pads on Sunday for the first time since he was hurt on Nov. 14. Murray said he hopes Scuderi can play Wednesday at Edmonton.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick will start today against Calgary. Murray said he doesn't have Erik Ersberg even penciled in for another start. "Not right now. No. I'm certainly not going to forget about him. He won a game there for us," Murray said of the team's victory at Carolina last week.

"He played well. Another game's going to be coming up soon. We do have 13 of 14 conference games coming up before the holiday break, so it's a heavy load, and it's a very demanding load and I'm going to keep awareness to Ersberg."

Murray said he plans to hold a mini-camp in El Segundo during the pre-Christmas break. After the Kings play at Calgary on Dec. 17, they don't play again until Dec. 26 at Phoenix; Murray said he will give players two days off before holding four days of intense training leading up to mandatory time off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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