EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Winnipeg Jets will return left wing Evander Kane and defensemen Mark Stuart and Toby Enstrom to the lineup when they play the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday at Staples Center.
Jets coach Paul Maurice told reporters the three will play. Kane, who has 15 points in 26 games, has missed five games. Enstrom has missed 19 games and Stuart nine, respectively. Each had a lower-body injury. Enstrom leads the Jets in ice time (25:07). It will be his first game since Nov. 23.
Their returns come at a good time because Winnipeg had its seven-game road point streak (5-0-2) end Thursday at the Arizona Coyotes.
It was unclear if Kings center Mike Richards would be scratched. The Kings did not do line rushes and the regulars came off the ice at different times. Center Andy Andreoff stayed out for extra work, along with injured defenseman Robyn Regehr.
Andreoff reportedly took Richards' spot on the fourth line Friday and Richards skated with the extras. Kings coach Darryl Sutter does not comment on lineups, and he defended Richards when asked about him.
"Mike Richards, the last time we played the Winnipeg Jets, he played 17 minutes and 50 seconds," Sutter said. "Mike hasn't been feeling all that great and I've been trying to watch him. Last week, when we gave guys time off, he was one of the guys that was here every day."
Richards played a season-low 9:07 on Thursday against the New York Rangers; he played two shifts in the third period. He has one goal in 18 games. Richards, who is believed never to have been a healthy scratch in his NHL career, told reporters Friday, "I'm not going to cause a scene or do anything to take the focus away from everything. You come to the rink every day and play hockey."
The Kings opened a season-long seven-game homestand with two losses and are 1-2-2 in the past five games. Their defense has allowed 11 goals in those two losses.
"We've shown a lot of resilience since Christmas," Sutter said. "We talked about it. We've come from behind every game we've played, especially the last little bit; obviously, we've given up goals early and things like that. But we've come back in every one of those games.
"We're used to being a real good goals-against team. The last three or four games, we haven't been effective as we want to be. If we can improve on that -- we score enough."
Here are the projected lineups:
Andrew Ladd –Bryan Little –Blake Wheeler
Mathieu Perreault – Mark Scheifele – Michael Frolik
Evander Kane – Adam Lowry – Matt Halischuk
Chris Thorburn – Jim Slater – Anthony Peluso
Toby Enstrom – Zach Bogosian
Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart – Jay Harrison
Scratched: Patrice Cormier, Keaton Ellerby, TJ Galiardi, Adam Pardy, Paul Postma
Injured: Grant Clitsome (upper body), Jacob Trouba (lower body)
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar –Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Mike Richards - Trevor Lewis
Brayden McNabb – Drew Doughty
Jeff Schultz – Alec Martinez
Jake Muzzin – Matt Greene
Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Jordan Nolan, Jamie McBain
Injured: Robyn Regehr (upper body)
Status report: The Jets had not announced any moves as of the late morning. Hutchinson is expected to start. Sutter mixed up the defensemen pairings Friday, notably breaking up Doughty and Muzzin. McNabb, who was paired with Doughty during the preseason, hasn't played since Dec. 30. Quick was off the ice first.
Who's hot: Perreault has 15 points in his past 16 games. Martinez is on a career-high tying three-game assist streak. Williams has goals in two of the past three games.