Kings rookie defenseman Drew Doughty
suffered a thigh contusion to his right leg in the second period as the Los Angeles Kings played host to the Tampa Bay Lightning at STAPLES Center on Monday night. Doughty, who was injured when checked against the boards by Tampa Bay Lightning forward Evgeny Artyukhin, did not return to the game, a 3-1 Tampa Bay victory.
"I haven’t talked to the trainers," head coach Terry Murray said of Doughty following the game. "I don’t know what was released. I think it was more of a contusion, nothing more than that, but those things can be pretty serious. When you’re looking at a severe contusion to the thigh that can take some time.”
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Artyukhin finished his hard but clean check against the glass in the right corner of the Tampa Bay zone at 10:42 of the second period with Doughty remaining on the ice for several seconds before carefully skating to the Kings bench. He was looked at by Kings personnel and returned to the Kings locker room. It was later announced that he had suffered a thigh contusion and that he would not return to the game. His defensive partner, Sean O'Donnell then received a two-minute minor penalty for cross-checking Artyukhin.
The Tampa Bay Lightning led 3-0 at the time of the injury in a much anticipated match up between Doughty, the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and Steven Stamkos, the first overall pick in 2008. It was the first regular season match-up of the first two picks in that year's NHL Entry Draft since Oct. 22, 2003, when Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, the 2003 No. 1 draft selection, stopped 35-of-36 shots, including four of Carolina's Eric Staal's shots, the 2003 No. 2 pick overall, in a 1-1 tie. The meeting was just the fifth pair of top picks to play each other in their draft year since 1990, the others being Fleury and Staal (2003); Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau (1997); Alexander Daigle and Chris Pronger (1993) and Owen Nolan and Petr Nedved (1990).
Doughty leads all rookies (and the Kings) with 23:57 average time-on-ice. He has played at least 20 minutes in 38 of 41 games this season (25-plus minutes in 19 games and a season-high 29:04 Nov. 22 vs. Colorado). Doughty has 12 points this season (3-9=12), third most among rookie blue-liners. He’s first among rookies with 52 blocked shots.
Peter Harrold scored the lone goal for the Kings, while Artyukhin, Mark Recchi and Vincent Lecavalier scored for the Lightning. Doughty finished the game scoreless without a shot on goal, with two hits and a blocked shot. Doughty was minus-2 for the game in 13:03 TOI. Stamkos meanwhile, finished with an assist in 10:38 to snap a five-game scoreless streak.