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LAKingsinsider Preview LAK @ EDM

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Big chance for Teddy Purcell.

EDMONTON -- Rob Scuderi and Jarret Stoll both participated in the Kings' morning skate on Wednesday, but afterward coach Terry Murray ruled both players out for tonight's game and said he would look toward Thursday's game at Vancouver.

Scuderi and Stoll both are listed with "lower-body injuries." Scuderi will miss his fourth consecutive game while Stoll will miss his first.

Up front, the Kings will skate as expected, with Anze Kopitar centering Teddy Purcell and Justin Williams, Andrei Loktionov making his NHL debut by centering Alexander Frolov and Dustin Brown, and Michal Handzus centering Scott Parse and Wayne Simmonds. Brad Richardson will center the fourth line with Brandon Segal and Raitis Ivanans.

That means each of the four lines will have a different look than they did in the Kings' previous game, a 5-2 loss to Calgary on Saturday.

With the Kings facing back-to-back games on this trip, Murray said he wasn't certain whether Stoll and/or Scuderi would be able to return at Vancouver.

"They got a good, hard workout," Murray said, "and I'll get a feel for it after the practice, or maybe tonight or tomorrow morning, whether we're going to make a move for the Vancouver game."

With the changes, the Kings will have five players in their 20-man lineup -- Loktionov, Parse, Segal, Randy Jones and Sean O'Donnell -- who were not in their opening-night lineup on Oct. 3, although that's slightly misleading since O'Donnell was serving the first of a two-game suspension.

Teddy Purcell started out as the Kings' second-line left wing. He has since played on the third line, and the fourth line, and on right wing. In the first two months of the season, he has done almost everything except strap on the goalie pads.

Tonight, though, Purcell gets another opportunity, as the first-line left wing alongside Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams.

So far, this season has been a disappointment for Purcell, who scored two goals in his first three games but then got dropped in the lineup after a scoring slump. Purcell has no goals and three assists in the Kings' last 21 games.

"This is a great opportunity for me. It’s no secret that Terry wants to get something out of me," Purcell said. "There’s no better players to do it with than the leading scorer in the league and Willie.

I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. It’s going to be a lot of fun playing with them. I just have to prove that I can take advantage of it."

With regular first-line wing Ryan Smyth expected to be out until mid-December with an upper-body injury, and Murray desiring to play the rookie Loktionov with his countryman, Frolov, Purcell has an opportunity to show his offensive skills.

Purcell has only seven goals in 72 NHL games but did score 25 goals for the AHL's Manchester Monarchs two seasons ago.

"I expect Teddy Purcell to play pretty well on the top line," Murray said. "He's a skilled player. He sees the ice and can be creative. I think that his game has been coming back to a higher level over the last week. And he needs to give us some offense. It's been quite a while since he's been able to get some results, so it's a great opportunity."

Drew Doughty is headed to Vancouver to play the Canucks tomorrow, and again next month. Might the 19-year-old Kings defenseman be making a third trip, when the Olympics are held in Vancouver in February.

Not surprisingly, the eager Edmonton media wanted to know about Doughty's prospects for making the team, and one reporter asked Murray if he felt Doughty was ready to "take the next step" and represent Canada in the Olympics.

"I just want him to take the next step here with the L.A. Kings," Murray said. "If he plays well here, he will get some consideration for the Olympic team. He's a good young prospect. He has played very well for us in the time he has been with the L.A. Kings. His point production is going in the right direction.

"He plays big minutes. Just take care of business here, do the right stuff with the Kings, and all the other stuff will fall in place."

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