The Kings, who flew to St. Louis yesterday after suffering a 4-1 loss at Chicago in the third game of a season-long six-game road trip, returned to practice today for 70 minutes at the Ice Zone at the St. Louis Mills, the official practice facility of the St. Louis Blues.
St. Louis took the ice first, skating from 11-12:30, with the Kings practicing from 1-2:30 p.m.
The big news from practice today was that it was disclosed that Alexander Frolov had suffered a lower body injury after a collision in the closing minutes at Chicago on Sunday. Frolov returned home to Los Angeles and is expected to miss 7-10 days.
Frolov leads the Kings with 28 goals and is second on the team with 55 points.
FROLOV OUT; RICHARDSON IN
With Frolov unavailable for the remainder of the Kings six-game road trip (1-2-0), Brad Richardson is expected to return to the Kings lineup on Tuesday vs. St. Louis, playing for the first time since March 5. Richardson has posted 0-4=4 in 26 games for the Kings this season since being acquired from Colorado for a second-round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft on June 21, 2008.
Richardson is expected to center the Kings third line with Kyle Calder and Wayne Simmonds on the wings. Michal Handzus was promoted to the Kings top line, where he will play with Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar.
Handzus had his three-game goal-scoring streak snapped at Chicago on Sunday, but has posted 6-5=11 over the last 12 games.
Teddy Purcell, who had been skating with Kopitar on the top line, will slide into the second line, playing with Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown. The fourth line will see Raitis Ivanans, Derek Armstrong and Peter Harrold together, with Oscar Moller and John Zeiler as the Kings scratches. In addition, Kevin Westgarth was assigned to Manchester today.
Click here or check out the Kings lines below.
Handzus - Kopitar - Williams
Purcell - Stoll - Brown
Calder - Richardson - Simmonds
Ivanans - Armstrong - Harrold
THE BACKEND REVAMPED AS WELL
For much of the season Sean O'Donnell has been partnered with rookie Drew Doughty as the Kings top defensive pair. At practice today, Kyle Quincey skated with Doughty. Quincey leads Kings defensmen with 34 assists and 38 points, while Doughty paces the Kings blueliners with six goals, including two in the last three games over which he has posted 2-2=4.
O'Donnell will be paired with Jack Johnson, while Matt Greene and Davis Drewiske will be the Kings third defensive pairing.
The Kings defensive pairings
Quincey - Doughty
O'Donnell - Johnson
Greene - Drewiske
WILLIAMS, DREWISKE UPDATES
Williams was activated from IR on March 20, the same day that Drewiske was recalled from Manchester to replace Denis Gauthier, who had suffered an upper body injury during the Kings 3-2 OT win at Boston on March 19.
In his two games since returning from the IR, Williams has posted two shots on net, with four PIMs while averaging 13:40 TOI and 19 shifts per game.
"Justin Williams is feeling his way and getting his legs underneath him right now," Kings head coach Terry Murray told reporters after Kings practice on Monday. "I have seen him when he is on top of his game and he can be a very effective offensive threat."
The Kings acquired the two-time 30-goal scorer from the Hurricanes in a deadline deal on March 4.
Drewiske, meanwhile, has averaged 14:35 TOI and 18 shifts per game, while collecting two shots and 10 PIMs. He received a 10-minute misconduct at Chicago on Sunday after it was determined by the referees that he had physical contact with a Chicago Blackhawk player on the ice while Drewiske was still on the bench during a skirmish in the second period.
QUICK OR ERSBERG
Terry Murray did not go as far as to indicate whom he planned to start against St. Louis on Tuesday, but had this to say about the play of rookie netminder Jonathan Quick:
"I was happy with the game Quick played against Chicago on Sunday. That was the best I have seen Chicago play all year, especially how they won battles and moved the puck and kept their feet moving."
The Kings trailed, 2-0 before Doughty tallied a goal at 16:54 to cut the deficit in half. The Kings pulled their goaltender with less than two minutes remaining and surrendered two empty-net goals to Patrick Sharp (18:54) and Martin Havlat (19:42) to account for the scoring in the Kings 4-1 loss.
Quick stopped 28-of-30 shots in the loss. He is 17-14-1 with a 2.65 GAA and a .907 SV% on the season.
His 17 wins rank fifth amongst rookie goaltenders in Kings history.
Quick has never faced the St. Louis Blues.
Ersberg, meanwhile, has posted an 8-10-5 mark during the 2008-09 season, with a 2.58 GAA and a .900 SV%. He has faced St. Louis twice this season, posting two wins while stopping 50-of-55 shots (.909 SV%) with a 2.58 GAA.
The Kings (30-32-10, 70 pts.) trail the Blues (33-30=9, 75 pts.) by five points in the Western Conference standings. St. Louis is just two points back of Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot, while the Kings trail the Predators by seven points with 10 games remaining.
Game time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Compiled by Jeff Moeller and Thomas LaRocca | LAKings.com