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Kings' focus stays within division in hosting Canucks

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

VISITING FROM VANCOUVER: Tonight marks the fourth of five meetings with the Canucks this season and Vancouver third and final visit to STAPLES Center. The Canucks are finishing off a two-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. The Kings are playing the third of a five-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday afternoon.

LINEUP: The Kings held an optional morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo in anticipation of tonight’s game. Kris Versteeg, who left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed upper-body injury, is likely to return to the lineup, filling in on the fourth line to skate alongside Kyle Clifford and Nick Shore. Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work and are the presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick did not partake in the morning skate but is the expected starter in net.







VERSTEEG ALL RIGHT: Kris Versteeg, who left Saturday’s game after the first period (upper-body) told Jon Rosen Sunday that he did not sustain any serious injuries. “Yeah, it was fine,” Versteeg said. “It was just a couple precautions, so [I’ll] just get ready to go when I get ready to go next.” Versteeg has registered two shots on goal in just over 12 minutes of ice time logged in his two games in a Kings uniform, he is expected to play on the fourth-line tonight.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous meeting with the Canucks on December 28 at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, they won the game 5-0 as they were jolted by Tyler Toffoli’s second-career NHL hat-trick; Anze Kopitar had four assists in the game. The Kings fell in the teams’ first meeting of the season, 3-0 on October 13 at STAPLES Center, and won 2-1 in OT on December 1 at STAPLES Center. Anze Kopitar leads all Kings players with points against Vancouver this season with five (1G, 4A). Jonathan Quick has started all three games against the Canucks, stopping 65 of 68 shots faced with a 2-1-0 record.

MISSING PIECE: The Canucks will be without forward Henrik Sedin tonight, who left their game Saturday with an upper-body injury and returned to Vancouver for further evaluation. Sedin is second on the Canucks roster in points scored this season with 48 (10G, 38A), second only to his brother Daniel’s 55. Vancouver comes into the night with the NHL’s fourth-worst offense, averaging 2.38 goals per game.

DIVISION VISION: The Kings will see yet another Pacific Division opponent tonight two days after falling to second-place in the group following their 3-2 loss to Anaheim Saturday. The Canucks, 10 points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, are not a team the Kings can afford to take lightly. “There’s not a whole lot pf parity in the league anymore,” Alec Martinez said of the matchup Monday morning. “Anyone can win on any given night and it’s going to be a tough test for us. And like I said, it’s a division game, so it’s a big two points at a big time of the year.”

Monday morning ahead of Vancouver. #LAKings - Canucks tonight at 7:30 @staplescenterla

A photo posted by LA Kings (@lakings) on

LEGENDS NIGHT: The Kings will honor former forward Jimmy Carson during a special pregame ceremony tonight for the team’s third and final Legends Night to be held this season. Carson was drafted second overall by the Kings in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, was involved in the Wayne Gretzky trade, but returned to help the team make it to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993. In four total seasons with the organization, Carson totaled 219 points (108G, 111A) in 219 games played.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show on KCOP-13 at 7:00 PM PST followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center at 7:30. As always, you can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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