EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty could return to the lineup Tuesday but that might be optimistic.
Doughty is eligible to come off injured reserve and play against the New Jersey Devils that night but the club is being cautious with the former Norris Trophy finalist.
"We'll keep pushing it, but we're going to make sure that he's 100 percent strong," Kings coach Terry Murray said after his team's morning skate Saturday. "But I would anticipate this coming week, in my mind, that he's going to get into a game. Whether it's the beginning or near the end, I don't know."
Doughty skated for a second straight day Saturday and was feeling good but he was uncertain if Tuesday was realistic.
"I want to get back as soon as possible, but at the same time I don't want to get back and re-injure it," Doughty said.
"We're going to be safe with it but I've been progressing every day and it's been pretty fast as well … I really want to play Tuesday, but it's kind of up to the training staff."
Doughty injured his right shoulder when he was hit by Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo on Oct.15. Saturday marked one week since the play, and Doughty said he hasn't been able to shoot yet.
He was carrying the puck through the middle of the Flyers' zone and didn't see Rinaldo. It was ironic because Doughty had warned his teammates about Rinaldo before the game.
"It was my fault," Doughty said. "I knew what kind of player he was. He played in my hometown in London (Ontario), and I knew what he was all about. I knew before the game that he was going to be headhunting and whatnot. I just kind of lost the puck for a second there, and that's when he got me."
Doughty said the play won't make him change his freewheeling style.
"Obviously I wish I could have it back and maybe dump the puck," he said. "But it's part of the game. I thought it was a clean hit."
When Doughty returns the Kings will have to send another defensemen down, and Murray said he wasn't certain of that decision. It would presumably be rookie Slava Voynov, but Murray likes Voynov's offense and he could assign Davis Drewiske instead.
Chemistry with Gagne-Kopitar: The plan going into the season was to reunite Simon Gagne with Mike Richards because the two played together in Philadelphia, but Gagne has developed chemistry playing with Anze Kopitar on the first line.
Murray tried it during the preseason when Richards wasn't in the lineup, and he liked the puck possession game the Gagne-Kopitar-Justin Williams line showed.
"I took a look at it and thought, ‘Maybe take another shot at this and see where it starts to go," Murray said. "I sense good chemistry and a good feeling with those two guys. It doesn't surprise me that there is good chemistry. Simon Gagne, in my time with him, is a world-class player."
Quick's streak: Murray will stick with the same lineup Saturday and that of course includes goalie Jonathan Quick, who carries a shutout streak of 128 minutes, 10 seconds that began in the third period of the Oct.15 game against Philadelphia.
Unlike the unofficial baseball code of not talking to a pitcher during a no-hitter, there is no such rule during a shutout streak with the usually soft-spoken Quick.
"He's a pretty chill guy," left wing Ethan Moreau said. "You can talk to him during the game. It's nice to have a goalie you can have a conversation with."
Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan on Friday didn't name a goalie for Saturday but he indicated that backup Andrew Raycroft would play at some point during the final two games of their road trip.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krys Barch - Tom Waddell - Adam Burish
Alex Goligoski - Mark Fistric
Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Brown - Mike Richards - Dustin Penner
Ethan Moreau - Jarret Stoll - Brad Richardson
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Kevin Westgarth
Jack Johnson - Rob Scuderi
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Matt Greene - Alec Martinez