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At the Rink: Kings at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar took part in the morning skate but likely won't play Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers because of an upper-body injury.

Kopitar took line rushes with injured teammate Marian Gaborik, rather than his usual linemates, but after the skate refused to rule himself out.

"I felt pretty good on the ice [Tuesday]," Kopitar said. "We'll see about [the game]. I'm going to prepare like I'm going to play and we'll see how I feel."

Kopitar was injured during the second period of the Kings game Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's missed one game in the past four seasons.

"I had a day off [Monday] so that obviously helps," Kopitar said. "We had a nice plane coming here. I laid down; it was nice. Cross-country flight, it was great."

Coach Darryl Sutter also was noncommittal about Kopitar's status. When asked if anything changes with Kopitar out of the lineup, he responded, "What if he does go?"

However, general manager Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times the Kings would have 19 players in their lineup Tuesday, one below the minimum, because of the injury to Kopitar. Because of the short-term nature of injuries to Kopitar, Gaborik and forward Trevor Lewis, plus the suspension of defenseman Slava Voynov, the Kings don't have the roster space or salary cap room to call up a player from Manchester of the American Hockey League.

That means more ice time for other players, something the rest of the roster has no problem assuming.

"Some of us got to step up," center Jarret Stoll said. "There's going to be four or five of us that play more minutes than we usually do, two or three more minutes. Just be smart; staying out of the penalty box is a key issue too. We don't want to put ourselves down where we have to kill penalties and chase the game. Want to just pay a simple, smart road game with everybody going -- everybody going minus one guy. Try to play the game and try to win the game."

Whoever the Kings have in the lineup, the Flyers know it will be a test against the defending Stanley Cup champions, who arrive here after sweeping a six-game homestand.

"They're one of the best, not cause they won the Cup but because they're one of the best teams in the League now," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "Just the way they're playing, they're going over teams, dominating the other teams. It's important for us to see where we stand, have a little test for us. We've been playing a lot of good teams lately and this will be another test for us."

Here are the projected lineups:


Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams

Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan

Drew Doughty - Jake Muzzin

Alec Martinez - Robyn Regehr

Matt Greene - Brayden McNabb

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: None

Suspended: Slava Voynov

Injured: Anze Kopitar (upper body), Marian Gaborik (upper body), Trevor Lewis (upper body)


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Zac Rinaldo - Chris VandeVelde - Jason Akeson

Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Nick Schultz

Shayne Gostisbehere - Luke Schenn

Ray Emery

Steve Mason

Scratched: Blair Jones

Injured: Vincent Lecavalier (lower body), Andrew MacDonald (lower body), Braydon Coburn (lower body), Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Ryan White (chest)

Status report: Sutter said Lewis is close to returning to the lineup. "He wants to play but I'm not … we got a long trip here. We'll make sure he's ready in two days not for a few minutes [Tuesday]," Sutter said. "We've had some frustrating muscle injures already. Just don't want to prolong them. I'd rather be a day in or a game off than miss four or five weeks." … Rinaldo returns after missing the Flyers' 4-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday because of an upper-body injury.

Who's hot: The Kings line of Carter, Toffoli and Pearson has scored 16 of Los Angeles' 21 non-shootout goals this season. Pearson's seven goals are third-most in the League, while Carter and Toffoli are tied for second in the League with 12 points. … Voracek has two goals and eight points in his past five games.


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