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At the Rink: Oilers at Kings

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It's only four games into the season, but it appears that the Los Angeles Kings top line will undergo its third incarnation when it plays the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday at Staples Center.

Left wing Marian Gaborik did not skate and is dealing with the same muscle injury he had in the preseason. Center Mike Richards took Gaborik's place with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams on the top line. Andy Andreoff centered the fourth line and will make his NHL debut.

Coach Darryl Sutter only said that, "We'll see [Tuesday]. We'll decide [Tuesday night] what we're doing," and of Andreoff that "I hope he plays and I hope he plays well."

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Gaborik is out of the lineup and there is no timetable for his return, according to the Orange County Register.

Andreoff confirmed he was in the lineup, though, and was excited to make his debut. He has a handful of family in town.

"Obviously I'm going to be a little nervous for my first NHL game," Andreoff said. "But it helps a lot that the guys on the team keep me pretty close. Everyone's gone through it, so you've just got to get the jitters out in that first shift with a big hit or a similar play. I'm looking forward to it."

Andreoff, 23, earned a roster spot out of training camp and is seen as the next-in-line among the Kings' young forwards. During training camp he switched from jersey No. 64 to 15, the number he wore with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, usually a sign of establishment for a young player.

Andreoff has impressed the organization with his two-way play the past two training camps. It helped his nerves some that he'll play on a line with Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan, which he did in the preseason.

"You dream about this your whole life, since you're playing in the driveway, a little road hockey with your buddies at home," Andreoff said. "It's great to be in such a great organization for your first NHL game. Just practicing with them in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, and watching and learning all the little details that they do to win the Stanley Cup, I'm excited to be part of that scene now this year."

Sutter is going for his 100th win with the Kings (99-58-25). He would be the fastest Kings coach to reach that number, in his 183rd game. Terry Murray reached 100 wins in his 197th game.

Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, right wing Jordan Eberle and defenseman Jeff Petry will not play Tuesday because of undisclosed injuries, coach Dallas Eakins said.

Eakins also said that defenseman Darnell Nurse and forward Bogdan Yakimov will make their NHL debuts against the Kings. The news was reported via the Oilers' official Twitter account.

Nugent-Hopkins has one assist and is a minus-2 with five shots on goal through two games. Eberle has no points and is a minus-2 with five shots on goal. Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle are the top two forwards in ice time for the Oilers. Petry is averaging 18:31 of ice time, sixth among defensemen.

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor Hall - Mark Arcobello - Teddy Purcell

David Perron - Bogdan Yakimov - Jesse Joensuu

Benoit Pouliot - Leon Draisaitl - Nail Yakupov

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Will Acton

Brad Hunt - Justin Schultz

Andrew Ference - Darnell Nurse

Nikita Nikitin - Mark Fayne

Viktor Fasth

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Oscar Klefbom, Jeff Petry

Injured: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (undisclosed), Jordan Eberle (undisclosed)


Mike Richards - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams

Tyler Toffoli - Jeff Carter - Tanner Pearson

Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan

Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty

Robyn Regehr - Slava Voynov

Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: None

Injured: Jake Muzzin (upper body), Trevor Lewis (mid/upper body)

Status report: Quick was off the ice first. He is one shutout shy of tying Rogie Vachon for the franchise record of 32. … Muzzin stayed out with the extras and told reporters Monday that his return might be later this week. … Lewis is not skating.

Who's hot: Carter, Toffoli and Pearson, nicknamed "That 70s Line," have scored five of the Kings' six goals this season. Kopitar got his first point of the season Sunday with a goal … Purcell and Perron lead Edmonton with three points apiece.

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