Kings’ Peter Harrold and Jack Johnson play well together

Coach Terry Murray paired the defensemen for Game 2 of the NHL playoffs against Vancouver and decided to keep the combination for Game 3. Harrold and Johnson are fine with the switch.

April 19, 2010|By Helene Elliott

Terry Murray's decision to take Randy Jones out of the lineup and pair Peter Harrold with Jack Johnson worked out well for the Kings in Game 2, and the Kings' coach stuck with the new configuration for Game 3.

That was fine with Johnson.

"I enjoy playing with Peter a lot. He's a quick player. Skating is one of his strengths," Johnson said. "I always enjoy having a partner that skates well, and I think he handles the puck well.

"He's very reliable. I always know where he's going to be and I trust him. In any partnership, trust is the biggest thing. I think we have that."

Harrold, who played 15 minutes, returned the compliment.

"He moves the puck well. Sometimes he can just do it on his own and I get a front-row seat to just watch it," Harrold said. "He's easy to play with. He does all the little things right. He just keeps getting better, so that's good for us."

Adjusting to a new defense partner can often take time. For Harrold and Johnson the switch was easy because they had played together before and because they have the luxury of consulting veterans Sean O'Donnell, Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi.

"A lot of it is just time," Harrold said of getting in sync with someone new. "There's a lot of idiosyncrasies to the game that you can't pick up in a day. A lot of that comes from veterans like O'D and Greener and Scuds telling us here and there what to do, what not to do. He's been soaking it in and it shows."

A Glass debut

You play 111 regular-season games in your NHL career and it goes without saying that it's probably time for a first playoff game.

That time is now for Vancouver left wing Tanner Glass. Well, that time is in about an hour or so.

"I'm excited," Glass said about his upcoming playoff debut, speaking after the Canucks' morning skate at Staples Center on Monday. "It's obviously something you grew up watching, and my brother was just in Vancouver last weekend and we were watching all the games together and it's the best time of the year.

"We've got hockey every night that means something. You play all season, and you want to get a chance to win the Cup and hoist it over your head."

He didn't play in Games 1 and 2 at Vancouver, and Glass could end up bringing what the Canucks need at this stage of the series: "A little more will and more determination, a little more grit maybe," he said. "Those are the things I bring to the game. Hopefully, I can add that."

And an eye on a way to slow down a certain opponent wearing No. 8, the Kings' Drew Doughty.

"I'll just try to get into it early, get in there and get a couple of bumps. Try to be physical on their good players, on Doughty, maybe slow him down," Glass said. "Late in the game [Saturday], I thought he was carrying the puck in the zone quite a little bit. Looked like he was pretty fresh. So just try to get in and be physical on their defensemen."

Greene machine

It wasn't so long ago that the Kings' Greene was a raw kid participating in his first playoff run — a run that ended in a seven-game loss to Carolina in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals.

Greene split the 2005-06 season between the Edmonton Oilers and their American Hockey League farm team in Iowa and played in 18 of the Oilers' 24 playoff games that spring.

"We just kept winning series," he said. "I was like, ‘This is what you do. This is how every year goes. This is a great time.' "

But every season didn't go like that for him or the Oilers. They haven't made the playoffs since then, and until last week he hadn't gotten another taste of postseason play.

His experience is much different this time, he said, because he's considered a veteran and a leader as one of the Kings' alternate captains.

"When I was with Edmonton, it was whatever happens, happens. You don't know how tough it is to get to the playoffs and how much each game and every shift means," said Greene, who was traded to the Kings with Jarret Stoll for defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky on June 29, 2008.

"It's a lot different role too. In Edmonton I wasn't playing a lot of minutes. I just got thrown out here and there. Now I've got a little bit bigger role and it's a lot more fun, I'll tell you that much, just kind of knowing what's at stake and what's going on out there rather than just getting used to it."

Four years ago the speed of playoff hockey took him by surprise, as did the amount of planning before each game.

"You go into regular-season games, you do power-play and penalty-killing meetings. In the playoffs, you know exactly what's going on with the other team," he said. "Just the preparation that goes into it, the video sessions, the way guys are talking about games, just the mental focus.

"And then you get out there and the speed is amazing and the attention to detail, how any play can change a game. Everything affects the game. It doesn't matter how many minutes you play. It doesn't matter what you are, if you're the sixth defenseman or the 12th forward out there. Every play matters and you just have to make sure you're doing your best out there."

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