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KINGS FYI

Jonathan Quick's gaffe was just part of poor play by Kings in loss

Goalie's own-goal in 3-1 defeat by New York Rangers on Monday, for which he received a lot of unwanted attention, wasn't the only negative. 'We played like beep in front of him,' Willie Mitchell says.

October 08, 2013|By Lisa Dillman

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Unwelcome North American attention landed exclusively at the skates of goalie Jonathan Quick by virtue of his own-goal gaffe in the Kings' 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday.

Of course, the road to the loss was hardly a one-man show, as Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell correctly noted.

"If you watch the game, how well Quickie played. We played like beep in front of him," Mitchell said. "The shift before I think he made three pad saves that were incredible."

For the record, Mitchell did use the word "beep."

And he was correct. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty suffered through one of his worst games in recent memory. Another youngster, defenseman Slava Voynov, has looked like a shadow of himself in the early going and the Rangers' second goal, by Brad Richards, went in off his stick.

Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was a combined minus-five in the first three games and struggled again in a big way Monday despite scoring. And it appeared, based on pairings in practice Tuesday, that Muzzin could be replaced in the lineup by Alec Martinez against Ottawa on Wednesday.

Left wing Daniel Carcillo might make his Kings debut, as he practiced on a line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Trevor Lewis was centering Kyle Clifford and Matt Frattin. Dwight King could be the odd man out, but Coach Darryl Sutter wasn't tipping his hand about roster changes.

But he did speak extensively about the foundering defenseman and the rash of turnovers, including Muzzin's early-season woes.

"He's struggling a lot," Sutter said. "He went through it last year as a young defenseman, there's a lot of pressure on him. He's not quite prepared for those situations, yet.

"In the playoffs last year, he was a healthy scratch, sort of going through that same thing again. You're not going to win many games if you're a guy playing significant minutes and you're a high minus player."

Just the typical learning curve of a young defenseman?

"We tried to ramp his training up this summer," said Sutter, who praised Muzzin's off-season effort. "He was a very unfit player when we got him last year. We spent a month or so; he was very fortunate being on an NHL roster just working on his fitness. It really hurt him in the playoffs, the pace of it."

After the loss to the Rangers, Sutter was asked whether he had spoken to Quick about his gaffe, the Rangers' short-handed goal, a shot from the faceoff circle from the other end.

"He [Quick] dropped his stick," Sutter said Monday. "What do you want to talk about — tell him not to drop his stick?"

Sutter jokingly said: "It's his job to stop the puck. So obviously, he didn't think he needed a stick."

The fans gave Quick a mock cheer and Quick answered by waving his glove. Mitchell, who played in some tough NHL markets in his day, offered his perspective.

"As a player, you have to expect that," he said. "I'm guessing, I would expect with our fans they were doing it as a joke because it was such a freaky play. He could try to do that 1,000 times over and it would never happen again."

KINGS VS. OTTAWA

When: 7:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.

Record vs. Senators (2012-13): Did not play.

Update: Center and new captain Jason Spezza, who was off the ice Monday, returned to practice as the Senators worked out in El Segundo on Tuesday afternoon. Former Ducks star Bobby Ryan, traded to the Senators in the summer, has one assist in two games. Goalie Craig Anderson is expected to start.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.

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