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At the Rink: Red Wings at Kings

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg said Tuesday that he isn't sure when he can return from an upper-body injury. He will miss his second straight game when Detroit plays the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

Zetterberg left the game last Saturday after he was punched in the head by Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. He said he has headaches but didn't say he sustained a concussion.

Zetterberg is tied with Pavel Datsyuk for the Red Wings lead with 49 points.

"I have some symptoms that I don't have when I'm 100 percent," Zetterberg said. "Until those symptoms go away, we've just got to take it easy."

The Red Wings squandered a 2-0 lead in the third period to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday and lost 4-3 in a shootout. Center Riley Sheahan scored the goal to force overtime; Detroit coach Mike Babcock said that was what the Red Wings needed to make up for Zetterberg's absence.

The Kings are going for their eighth straight win, which would match their win streak from Feb. 6-March 10 of last season. They could face substantial resistance considering the Red Wings have won the past four games between the teams by a combined score of 14-6, including a 5-2 victory on Oct. 31.

"Well, they have a lot of skill guys and they're not necessarily the biggest guys, but they play hard and they can hurt you pretty quick if you don't pay attention, so we've got to stay focused on our game plan and just try and execute it as good as we can," Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar said.

The biggest news for the Kings came off the ice with the announcement of a three-year contract for right wing Jordan Nolan. It's a significant term for a fourth-line player, a sign of how much general manager Dean Lombardi values Nolan, who was due to become a restricted free agent.

"Anytime you feel wanted in the organization, it gets your confidence up there," Nolan said. "I spent a lot of time here in [American Hockey League affiliate] Manchester, in development, with the coaches, and he shows a lot of confidence in me so to give me that three-year deal definitely makes me feel good."

Nolan said his father, Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan, helped get that third year.

"Yeah, I called him a few days ago and we started talking about contracts," said Jordan Nolan, who played against his father for the first time Oct. 23. "I think we originally talked for two years and he said, 'Try and get that third year,' so we did, and seemed to work out.

"He was in my ear a little bit but he was very happy for me."

Nolan has gotten back to his energy role and also contributed offensively with two goals in a three-game stretch this month. He has three goals in his past 11 games since Nick Shore replaced Mike Richards as his center.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter likes the line of Nolan, Shore and left wing Kyle Clifford.

"Shore has given them an element of puck possession and making plays, and Kyle I've said all along is a mainstay somewhere, so it's who the other two guys are," Sutter said. "It's not really a line for me. It's how they're playing and how they're doing, and they better have their foot on the right pedal."

It is the Kings' first game since the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Levi's Stadium and Sutter still had a glimmer in his eye about it.

"I think the outdoor game is spectacular, the whole part of it," Sutter said. "The game almost becomes a little bit of an [afterthought]. You see the crowd and how great they are. A lot of people get to go to a game, if you think about it. With us playing twice [outdoors] in California, three teams, so that's cool."

Here are the projected lineups:


Tomas TatarPavel DatsyukDarren Helm

Gustav NyquistRiley SheahanJustin Abdelkader

Drew MillerLuke GlendeningTomas Jurco

Daniel ClearyStephen WeissTeemu Pulkkinen

Niklas KronwallJonathan Ericsson

Danny DekeyserJakub Kindl

Brendan SmithAlexey Marchenko

Jonas Gustavsson

Jimmy Howard

Injured: Henrik Zetterberg (upper body), Johan Franzen (concussion), Kyle Quincey (foot)

Scratched: Joakim Andersson


Marian GaborikAnze KopitarDustin Brown

Dwight KingJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

Trevor LewisJarret StollJustin Williams

Kyle CliffordNick Shore - Jordan Nolan

Robyn RegehrDrew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Matt Greene

Brayden McNabbJamie McBain

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Injured: Alec Martinez (concussion symptoms)

Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Derek Forbort

Status report: Gustavsson is expected to get his first start since Nov. 5 … Quick was off the ice first and will make his eighth straight start. He has a 1.86 goals-against average and .934 save percentage during the seven-game win streak, but is 1-7-1 in his past nine games against Detroit.

Who's hot: Datsyuk had his second straight two-goal game Monday and third in his past five games. Carter is on a six-game point streak, with four goals and six assists in that span. His longest career streak is seven games, from 2008 with the Philadelphia Flyers.

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