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Kings likely without Kopitar vs. Predators

Forward has lower-body injury; Mersch recalled from AHL

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

KINGS (33-20-4) at PREDATORS (27-21-10)

TV: 8 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-TN, NHL.TV

NASHVILLE -- Center Anze Kopitar did not participate in the morning skate and is not expected to play for the Los Angeles Kings against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

Kopitar left after the first period of a 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday and is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Kings recalled forward Michael Mersch from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

"Definitely without [Kopitar] in our lineup, we're not the same team," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "That's an obvious answer, but we have other guys. We called up [Mersch], who's a great player and we have other guys that now get a bigger opportunity to play more minutes and show their stuff. When guys get those opportunities, they usually relish at that opportunity and they perform well."

The game will conclude a seven-game road trip for the Kings. They have gone 2-3-1, are 0-2-1 in their past three games.

"I think we can't overlook this game," Kings defenseman Luke Schenn said. "I think this is the most important thing is how we finish the trip here. Obviously we would've liked to have had a little bit better of a trip, but in saying that it'd be nice to finish on a high note."

Los Angeles forward Jordan Nolan was not on the ice. He was reported as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury by the Los Angeles Times.

The Predators are coming off of a 2-0 win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday in a game in which they were credited with 20 blocked shots.

"Defense is always going to be the biggest key I guess to winning games," Predators forward Filip Forsberg said. "I think we've done a really good job of that lately. Blocking shots, we have guys sacrificing their bodies every night. That's something you really want to see as a team."

Here are the projected lineups:


Milan Lucic - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Kyle Clifford - Vincent Lecavalier - Trevor Lewis

Dwight King - Nick Shore - Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson - Andy Andreoff - Michael Mersch

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez - Luke Schenn

Brayden McNabb - Jamie McBain

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Kevin Gravel

Injured: Matt Greene (shoulder), Marian Gaborik (knee), Anze Kopitar (lower body), Jordan Nolan (undisclosed)


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson

Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Austin Watson

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Anthony Bitetto - Barret Jackman

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Petter Granberg, Cody Bass

Injured: Eric Nystrom (broken foot), Gabriel Bourque (upper body)

Status report: Quick is expected to start for the Kings. … The Predators held an optional morning skate. … Rinne is expected to start for the Predators.

Who's hot: Doughty has four assists in his past four games. … Forsberg has six goals in his past six games.

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