DARRYL SUTTER will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, general manager Dean Lombardi announced yesterday.

Sutter will assume his duties beginning with practice today, after which the club will hold a news conference to introduce him.

The Kings (15-14-4) are currently riding a streak of 12 consecutive games in which they've scored no more than two goals in regulation.

The Kings, whose next game is tomorrow night at Staples Center against the struggling Anaheim Ducks, fired coach Terry Murray on Dec. 12 in Boston before starting a four-game road trip. Assistant coach John Stevens was 2-2 as the interim coach.

This is the ninth time in franchise history that the Kings will finish a season with a different coach than the one they started with. They made the playoffs on three of those occasions - 1982 after Don Perry replaced Parker MacDonald, 1987 after Mike Murphy took over for Pat Quinn, and 1988 after Robbie Ftorek succeeded Murphy.

Sutter, 53, has a career record of 409-320-131 in the regular season, and a 47-54 mark in the playoffs. This is his 13th season as a head coach in the NHL, and the Kings are his fourth club. The other three, Chicago, San Jose and Calgary, each won a division title. Sutter's teams have made the playoffs 10 times, including 2004, when the Flames reached the Stanley finals and lost to Tampa Bay in seven games.

Noteworthy * 

The Toronto Maple Leafs said forward Colby Armstrong did not reveal he had concussion symptoms until almost 48 hours after he was involved in a collision during Saturday's night loss to Vancouver.

Because of that, the team said it was unable to follow any of the guidelines set out in the NHL's concussion protocol. He has since been diagnosed and will be sidelined indefinitely.

* Guy Carbonneau understands Randy Cunneyworth's plight, but the former coach of the Montreal Canadiens also knows that the new man in that job should learn to speak French as quickly as possible.

"He's living a dream, which is doing what he loves for one of the best franchises in the NHL, and he's caught in a storm," Carbonneau said. "It's premature. You have to give him a chance to show what he can do and if he's willing to learn.

"But there's no doubt in my mind that the coach of the Montreal Canadiens has to speak both languages, at least to some extent."

The Toronto-born Cunneyworth, the Canadiens' first English-only speaking coach since Al McNeil in the 1970-71 season, landed in a swirl of controversy when he was made interim head coach after Jacques Martin was fired on Saturday.

Cunneyworth has said he hopes to learn French. Until then, the debate is likely to rage on.

In last night's games * 

At Newark, N.J., Marian Gaborik snapped a third-period tie with the first of his two goals and then sealed New York's win with an empty-netter as the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils, 4-1.

* At Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin had three assists as the Penguins snapped the Chicago Blackhawks' five-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory.

Malkin assisted on goals by Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Tyler Kennedy, giving him points in all six games since Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left the lineup again because of concussion symptoms.

* At Ottawa, Erik Condra scored two goals to help lift the Senators to a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

* At Washington, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom scored first period goals, Alexander Semin added a third-period goal, and Michal Neuvirth stopped 20 shots as the Capitals beat the Nashville Predators, 4-1.

* At Sunrise, Fla., Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney scored goals to lift the Phoenix Coyotes to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

* At Winnipeg, Pierre Parenteau and Frans Nielsen scored shootout goals as the New York Islanders defeated the Jets, 3-2.

* At Calgary, Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist and Miikka Kiprusoff had 29 saves to lead the Flames to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.