EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings will get a much-needed piece of their defense back when defenseman Robyn Regehr returns from an upper-body injury Monday against the Calgary Flames at Staples Center.
Regehr took line rushes with defenseman Alec Martinez and said he is ready to return after a 12-game absence from what was believed to be a hand injury.
"It's been four-and-a-half weeks," Regehr said. "It's always exciting to get back in the lineup and play against a former team too."
Regehr was cleared last week but needed extra days to regain strength and test it out with contact.
"A lot of is strength, because I had to be immobilized in a cast for a while, in a splint, so it was just working on getting strength back as much as I could, and also mobility too," he said. "When you immobilize something for a little while it stiffens up and it wasn't moving quite the way the way it needed to."
The Kings need Regehr to bolster a defense that has allowed 22 non-shootout goals in the first six games of a seven-game homestand in which they are 1-2-3. The Kings' penalty-killing unit is 10-for-17 the past six games.
"I think his leadership is critical, and we talked last week [about] the work ethic that he brings and that day-to-day professionalism," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
Sutter is trying to manage through the latest injury/illness crisis for the Kings, who have lost left wings Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli and goalie Martin Jones. The three are roommates and Sutter joked when asked about the house being cursed.
"They just took two or three days off so they could take care of it," he said.
Sutter tweaked his lines with left wing Kyle Clifford skating with rookie center Nick Shore and right wing Jeff Carter. Shore made his NHL debut Saturday and will apparently miss playing against his older brother, Flames center Drew Shore, who is expected to be a healthy scratch.
Nick Shore said Sunday that his parents, David and Sarah, will be in attendance. Nick played with Drew at the University of Denver but hasn't seen him play lately.
"Sometimes I catch his games," Nick said. "We have some similarities. We see the game the same way. I think he plays a little more north-south than I do. But [it's] same sort of thing. I think he likes being good, responsible in all three ends. Start there and hopefully the offense comes."
Calgary is 3-0-0 on its five-game Pacific Division trip and 7-3-0 in its past 10 games. The Flames return to Staples Center for the first time since they erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the Kings 4-3 on Mark Giordano's overtime goal Dec. 22. Calgary has won three straight at Staples Center.
The Flames placed left wing Curtis Glencross on injured reserve and activated center Josh Jooris, although Jooris is not expected to play, according to the Calgary Herald.
Here are the projected lineups:
Johnny Gaudreau – Mikael Backlund – Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma – Sean Monahan – David Jones
Mason Raymond –Markus Granlund – Joe Colborne
Brandon Bollig – Matt Stajan – Paul Byron
Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie
Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid – Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Drew Shore, Raphael Diaz, Josh Jooris
Injured: Karri Ramo (upper body), Curtis Glencross (lower body)
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Nick Shore – Jeff Carter
Dustin Brown – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Dwight King – Mike Richards – Jordan Nolan
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Robyn Regehr – Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb – Matt Greene
Scratched: Jeff Schultz, Jamie McBain, Andy Andreoff
Suspended: Slava Voynov
Injured: Tyler Toffoli (mononucleosis), Tanner Pearson (leg), Martin Jones (back)
Status report: Ortio is expected to start. He's 3-0-0 with a .953 save percentage since his Jan. 8 recall. … Andreoff took turns on the second and fourth lines and came off the ice at the same time as the regulars. … The Kings placed Jones on injured reserve with back spasms to clear a roster spot for Regehr.
Who's hot: Monahan scored his third overtime goal this season Saturday and fourth of his career, tying him for third in franchise history with Valeri Bure. Backlund has a five-game point streak. Kopitar has nine points in the past six games and 22 points in the past 14. Gaborik is on a four-game point streak and has 17 points in 14 games.