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Kings try to maintain road karma at home

Team stays at a downtown L.A. hotel on Wednesday night and will hold morning skate at Staples Center before Game 3 of playoff series with St. Louis instead of at practice facility.

May 02, 2012|By Helene Elliott

Departing from their routine, the Kings planned to stay at a downtown hotel Wednesday night and conduct their morning skate at Staples Center before Game 3 of their playoff series against the St. Louis Blues.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick saw a big benefit beyond making players feel as if they're on the road, where they're 5-0 in postseason play.

"I think it's more like we want our rink to feel like it's our rink," he said Wednesday. "We've never practiced there. Four years I've been here, we've never practiced there. Maybe that could do with our subpar home record the past few years.

"Maybe you don't get a feeling like it's your rink because you're never there, and I think I like this idea of being able to go there and practice there."

The Kings' 22-14-5 home record ranked 19th in the NHL this season. Their 18-13-10 road record ranked 10th. In the playoffs they're 1-1 at home.

The Blues, 2-0 on the road but 2-3 at home after losing the first two games of this series, were happy to get away. Captain David Backes said it would be good to escape people "who told us how good we were all year and at the end of the year and how good we were after we beat San Jose in five. We've had a little trouble dealing with those successes and all the hype that's come with that."

Wherever they play, Coach Ken Hitchcock said his team will need a better effort than in its first two games against the Kings.

"They're at 100%. Their commitment's 100 and we're probably at 85 and we know now against L.A., that's not good enough," Hitchcock said. "It maybe got it done the last series, but not now."

Medical update

Standout Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who sat out Game 2 as the result of being shoved into the boards by Dwight King in Game 1, participated fully in practice Wednesday.

"If he feels OK [Thursday] and wants to give it a go, we'll let him go," Hitchcock said.

Center Jason Arnott sat out practice because of a lower-body injury and is day to day.

Kings winger Kyle Clifford, out since he suffered a concussion in the playoff opener against Vancouver, continues to skate, but Coach Darryl Sutter said his conditioning isn't at a game-ready level.

Slap shots

The Kings announced a five-year extension of their agreement to play their annual "Frozen Fury" exhibition in Las Vegas. This year's game is scheduled for Sept. 29.

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