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At the Rink: Kings at Red Wings

by Paul Harris

DETROIT -- The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup two of the past three seasons, but have lost seven of their previous nine games against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Kings will try to reverse that Friday at Joe Louis Arena.

Los Angeles could be without key forwards Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik because of upper-body injuries, but Detroit coach Mike Babcock said the Kings still will be a challenge.

"Without Kopitar or Gaborik they're not the same," Babcock said. "They're still a real good, heavy team that plays well and doesn't give you much in the neutral zone and makes it hard for you at the net.

"They'll have [Jonathan] Quick in net; he's kind of like the human eraser. It'll be a tough test for us."

The Kings are missing three injured forwards, with Trevor Lewis (upper body) joining Kopitar and Gaborik on the sideline. However, coach Darryl Sutter told the Kings website that forward David Van Der Gulik was being returned to Manchester of the American Hockey League. Van Der Gulik had been recalled from the AHL on an emergency basis Thursday so he could play in the Kings' 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

That means Lewis or Kopitar could be returning to the lineup. Kopitar has missed the past two games, while Lewis has not played since the season opener. Gaborik is not as close to being able to play.

The Kings didn't skate Friday morning but Sutter said he didn't have a problem with the way Los Angeles played Thursday.

"We played well," he said. "If we make it 2-1, or even the power play scored a goal there, hey, it's a big goal, it's 2-1. We had a really good second period and we felt that we carried the play in the third. I thought we played really well. I think [goalie Martin Jones] would've liked to have a goal back in there."

The Red Wings are 5-2-2 but have struggled on the power play; they enter play Friday 26th in the League at 8.8 percent (3-for-34).

"We need to have a real good power play to have success; everybody does," Babcock said. "Look at Pittsburgh; they're eating teams alive with it. When you attack the net the penalty kill always shrinks. When you just keep it on the wall the penalty kill always keeps you against the wall. You always have to be on the attack and suddenly there's room."

Detroit leads the NHL in penalty killing, with two goals allowed in 32 times shorthanded (93.8 percent).

"They kill like us," Sutter said. "It gets hot and gets cold. We dropped three percent in a game. Hopefully we can drop theirs three percent [Friday]. By the end of the next week then they're in the middle of the pack. Stats are for you guys [media]."

Sutter praised Red Wings defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson.

"If you can pick two guys to kill penalties in the League, I’d take 55 [Kronwall] and Ericsson," Sutter said.

Detroit right wing Johan Franzen, who has been out since Oct. 17, with a groin injury, is expected to be activated from injured reserve and in the lineup Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo.

To make room for Franzen, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said center Stephen Weiss will be placed on injured reserve.

Weiss has been a healthy scratch in all but one game this season. He was sent to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on a two-game conditioning stint but Wednesday, in his first game, left with a groin injury after two periods.

Weiss missed most of 2013-14 because of sports hernia surgery. Weiss also had a procedure in April.

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 - Trevor Lewis - Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez - Robyn Regehr

Brayden McNabb - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: None

Suspended: Slava Voynov

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


Justin Abdelkader - Pavel Datsyuk - Henrik Zetterberg

Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Andrej Nestrasil - Darren Helm - Tomas Jurco

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Danny DeKeyser

Jakub Kindl - Brendan Smith

Jimmy Howard

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Daniel Cleary, Brian Lashoff

Injured: Johan Franzen (groin), Stephen Weiss (groin)

Status report: It's more likely Lewis returns to the lineup than Kopitar. The Kings website reported that while Kopitar said he could play Friday, it's more likely he returns later in the Kings' road trip. … Sutter said that because of the absence of Kopitar and Gaborik teams have been using their top defensive lines against Carter's line, especially on the road, where the home team gets the last change. … After reuniting Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Abdelkader in the third period of the 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and they combined for three goals (two by Abdelkader, one by Datsyuk), Babcock said he wants to keep them together for the rest of the season, if possible.

Who's hot: Datsyuk has points in all four games he's played (two goals, three assists) since returning from a separated shoulder.

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