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KINGS FYI

Kings will fight for their honors

Home winning streak doesn't mean as much as chemistry.

November 12, 2010|By Kevin Baxter

With a win Saturday over the visiting New York Islanders, the Kings will set a franchise record with eight consecutive home victories to start a season.

Not that anyone in the dressing room has noticed.

"I didn't know that was even a stat," center Jarret Stoll said. "I guarantee you three-quarters of the guys in that room don't know that either. We don't even really talk about it."

What they do talk about, however, is how tight-knit the team is. That became obvious in Thursday's win over Dallas when Kyle Clifford, Matt Greene, Davis Drewiske and Wayne Simmonds all took major fighting penalties while defending teammates.

For Drewiske, a solidly built third-year defenseman, the fight was the first of his NHL career.

"You're doing it for the team, you're not doing it for yourself," Drewiske said after Friday's brisk 40-minute workout. "It's good to see guys care for each other, protect each other. And it's a good thing to know that the other guys on the ice have your back."

Especially since the Kings' fast start has inspired other teams to come after them physically. The Kings and Stars combined for 91 penalty minutes, a week after the hard-checking Tampa Bay Lightning was whistled for a five-minute boarding penalty, a 10-minute misconduct and a fighting major in a 1-0 loss to the Kings.

"It really says a lot about the character of your locker room [when] you start to see players playing hard for each other," Coach Terry Murray said. "And that's a good sign."

Head case

Drew Doughty, who sat out two weeks after sustaining a concussion Oct. 20, had a scare in Thursday's game when Adam Burish drove the defenseman into the boards late in the game. Doughty, whose helmet popped off with the force of the hit, said Friday there were no lingering problems.

"That was an unfortunate play, but I feel fine," Doughty said before whipping teammate Greene in a post-practice ping-pong game.

Doughty has reluctantly been wearing a mouthguard since the concussion and said assistant trainer Myles Hirayama checks him before the start of each period to make sure he hasn't "accidentally" misplaced it.

"Myles is pretty good at that," Doughty said.

Studies have shown that mouthpieces help protect against concussions, and that may have aided Doughty after Burish's hit caused Doughty's head to hit the glass above the boards.

All-Star nominees

The Kings landed four players — Doughty, goalie Jonathan Quick, center Anze Kopitar and winger Ryan Smyth — on the ballot for the NHL All-Star game in Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 30.

Fan voting for all-star selections will begin Monday and run through Jan. 3.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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