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At the Rink: Oilers at Kings

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll said he will return to the lineup Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-W).

Stoll has missed nine games with a head injury after a hit by Derek Dorsett of the Vancouver Canucks on March 12.

"I'm excited to be back in the lineup with the guys and help this team win any way I can," Stoll said. "Obviously it's an important time, an important game, big games. This is definitely the time where you want to be playing as opposed to watching your team."

The Kings are two points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Each team will have five regular-season games remaining after Thursday.

Stoll, who has a history of concussions, worked with Kings director of player development Nelson Emerson and a local midget coach, Jack Bowkus, to get back up to speed.

"Jack even brought one of his midget goalies out for me to shoot on," Stoll said. "Warmed him up a little bit."

Stoll's return restores the Kings' strength down the middle and gives them back one of their better penalty killers. Coach Darryl Sutter said there won't be any holding back as far as Stoll's minutes.

"He plays a third-line checking centerman," Sutter said. "We'll use him if he'll hold up his end of the deal, and that's what I trust he's going to do. He's well-rested and he's healthy. If you're well-rested and healthy, you should perform. Maximize your skill set."

Stoll's return means center Mike Richards will be scratched for the first time in his NHL career. Richards had no points in five games since he was recalled from the American Hockey League and was a minus-2 Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I thought I did all right until Chicago," Richards said. "End of the road trip, I don't know what it was, but I felt good. I just couldn't do anything, which was frustrating.

"You're going to have bad games, but it's frustrating when you feel good and you go the other way, instead of doing something productive."

The Kings announced a two-year contract extension for left wing Tanner Pearson, who was set to become a restricted free agent on July 1.

"I want to be here as a long as possible," Pearson said. "I know I love L.A. I love the team, the fans, everything about it. It's one of the best places to play, in my opinion. To be here at least for another two years, is special, and I think we have a pretty special group here too."

Pearson is recovering from a broken leg sustained Jan.10 that was projected to keep him out for three months. It appears that might take longer.

"Honestly, I don't even know," he said. "It's still up in the air. I'm still going day-by-day. I'm hoping to return as a soon as possible and just have a bit more healing to do."

Pearson didn't know if it was realistic to return before the regular season ends April 11. A lot will depend on an upcoming X-ray.

"I don't know, I don't want to close [the window for the regular season]," he said. "There's always that chance of seeing another X-ray, if it's good to go."

Edmonton had its three-game win streak end Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks and will try to play spoiler against the Kings.

The Oilers have lost their past five games at Staples Center and been outscored 17-3 in that streak. Goalie Ben Scrivens is expected to start again after goalie Richard Bachman left the team because of a death in the family.

Edmonton announced a two-year contract extension for center Anton Lander.

Here are the projected lineups:

OILERS

Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Teddy Purcell - Derek Roy - Nail Yakupov

Taylor Hall - Anton Lander - Andrew Miller

Luke Gazdic - Matt Hendricks - Rob Klinkhammer

Oscar Klefbom - Justin Schultz

Martin Marincin - Nikita Nikitin

Brandon Davidson - Keith Aulie

Ben Scrivens

Tyler Bunz

Scratched: Matt Fraser

Injured: Viktor Fasth (knee), Andrew Ference (concussion), Mark Fayne (shoulder), Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Boyd Gordon (back)

KINGS

Marian Gaborik - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams

Dwight King - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Nick Shore - Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Robyn Regehr - Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: Jamie McBain, Andy Andreoff, Mike Richards

Injured: Andrej Sekera (lower body)

Status report: Hendricks could return to the lineup, Oilers coach Todd Nelson said Thursday, but Gordon is not yet ready. … Quick was off the ice first. He is 13-1-5 with a 1.54 goals-against average against Edmonton. Sekera is not skating and Sutter has not given any specifics regarding severity or timetable.

Who's hot: Nugent-Hopkins has eight goals and nine assists in his past 12 games. … Carter has a goal and two assists in his past four games. Toffoli has two goals and an assist in his past five games.

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