"I'm excited to be back in the lineup with the guys and help this team win any way I can," Stoll said. "Obviously it's an important time, an important game, big games. This is definitely the time where you want to be playing as opposed to watching your team."
ANAHEIM – Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau had said he was reluctant to rest players for the final stretch of the regular season but he left open that possibility regarding centers Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf.
Getzlaf, like he often does, did not participate in the morning skate in advance of Anaheim’s game Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers. Kesler took Getzlaf’s place on the top line, usually a sign that Kesler, who played Sunday against the New Jersey Devils but is dealing with an arm injury, will sit out.
Boudreau was coy when asked about Kesler being available.
“I don’t know if he’s playing, but he’s good to go,” Boudreau said.
Vatanen has missed 15 games because of a lower-body injury sustained Feb. 15 when his legs hit the boards awkwardly.
"It's been a long four weeks for me sitting there and eating popcorn [for the games]," Vatanen said. "It's a fun time to back in. I think this week I've been feeling really good and I've been ready to play and I'm just waiting my turn to get back in the lineup."
ANAHEIM -- It doesn't appear that the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings will have key defensemen in their lineups for the finale of their regular-season series Wednesday at Honda Center (NBCSN, SN, 10:30 p.m.).
Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen skated on the fourth pairing at the morning skate. Coach Bruce Boudreau said Vatanen wasn't ready to come back from a lower-body injury that has kept him out for 14 games.
"When he's ready to play he's going to play," Boudreau said. "This is the time of year that we want to make sure everyone's completely healthy. And he's pretty close to being healthy but I don't know if he's 100 percent. He might be 96 percent. The team we have right now, the defense is playing pretty well. Why take that extra chance? Let's wait until he's ready to play."
Asked if it could be a long-term injury, Blake said Sunday, "Hopefully not. It was a hit in the third against Vancouver. You guys saw the hit. You can tell it's an upper-body. The problem is we don't have a timetable for that stuff."
The Kings do not have any spare forwards and have not yet made a recall. Center Mike Richards, demoted to the American Hockey League in January, reportedly is training at the Kings' facility.
It is a matchup of the top teams in the Western Conference. The Predators and Ducks have identical 43-20-7 records but Nashville owns the first tiebreaker on more regulation/overtime wins. The Predators defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Saturday, which got them out of 1-7-0 slump in their previous eight games, and they'd like to carry that momentum into the second half of their Southern California trip.
"I'd like to just keep playing the way we're playing," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said after the game Saturday. "The results haven't been there every game for us, and that's been frustrating, but I think the guys have played hard and tonight we were able to get it done."
Sutter didn’t specify the injury, but Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times it was an upper-body injury. Stoll absorbed a hit from center Derek Dorsett of the Vancouver Canucks early in the third period Thursday.
“He didn’t skate [Friday] and he didn’t skate today, so he’s probably not going to be available tonight,” Sutter said before the Kings played the Predators at Staples Center.
ANAHEIM -- As much as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy wants to think about Friday as just another game, his emotions overwhelm him. It's been five days since Lovejoy was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to Pittsburgh, and it seems too soon when the teams play at Honda Center.
"They're not even memories yet, because it just happened," Lovejoy said. "I can't even say it. Tonight isn't just another game for me. But I hope that once the game starts happening, it will be just like a normal game."
Lovejoy quickly followed that up with, "No, that's not true."
Lovejoy began his NHL career with Pittsburgh in 2008 but never fully established himself and was traded to Anaheim in 2013 for a fifth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Pittsburgh re-acquired him Monday for defenseman Simon Despres.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. –Los Angeles Kings right wing Trevor Lewis probably wouldn't be the first that comes to mind as far as players to watch against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Staples Center. But Lewis is enjoying a nice ride playing on the top line.
Lewis has benefited from playing with left wing Marian Gaborik and center Anze Kopitar. He had his first three-point game Tuesday, a one-goal, two-assist performance against the Edmonton Oilers. Lewis couldn't really remember his last three-point game.
"Probably in [Manchester of the American Hockey League] or something," Lewis said. "But, yeah, it's fun. I mean, it's a fast pace with them, and I'm enjoying it."
Yeah, it was a pretty special moment for me. Today was my Dad's [55th] birthday. I have a lot of family in town, so it was a special moment for me to score my first one today. A win definitely would have capped it off, but you can't have everything.
— Sabres rookie Jack Eichel after scoring a goal in his National Hockey League debut
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