LOS ANGELES — It’s early in the series, but Shea Theodore is showing signs of being a money player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Golden Knights defenseman already made history when he scored the team’s first playoff goal in a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings.
He has also logged big minutes. In the Knights’ 2-1 double-overtime victory Friday, Theodore had 33:08 of ice time. He has been skating well, making smart plays and playing responsibly in his end.
“That’s kind of my job when I’m up there,” Theodore said prior to Game 3 of being an offensive threat. “I’m trying to find that lane and just get it through. Sometimes the puck just tends to find a way in the back of the net.”
Last year with the Anaheim Ducks, Theodore had four goals and eight assists in 12 playoff games as the Ducks made it to the Western Conference finals, only to fall to Nashville. Knights coach Gerard Gallant couldn’t be happier with Theodore’s play.
“He’s a natural skater and some of those guys … they can really skate,” Gallant said of Theodore. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Kings’ Jake Muzzin returns
Knights forward David Perron wasn’t the only new face on the ice Sunday.
The Kings welcomed back defenseman Jake Muzzin for Game 3 after Muzzin missed the last five games of the regular season and the first two playoff games with an upper-body injury.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) April 16, 2018
Muzzin worked with Drew Doughty during the Kings’ morning skate. Doughty returned to the lineup after being suspended for Game 2 for his hit to Will Carrier’s head in Game 1. Rookie center Alex Iafallo also skated Sunday morning and was back in the lineup for Game 3 after missing Game 2 as a healthy scratch.
Keeping with tradition
The Kings maintained a tradition of staying at a hotel the night before a home game.
Darryl Sutter started the tradition when he was coach of the Kings, hoping to limit the number of distractions and foster team bonding. Current coach John Stevens decided to continue doing it, along with holding the morning skate at Staples Center instead of the team’s Toyota Sports Center practice facility in El Segundo.
“It’s a big commitment from the players, but it’s worked for us,” Stevens said Saturday.