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Versteeg to debut for Kings against Canadiens

L.A. forward skating alongside Carter, Pearson

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Right wing Kris Versteeg will debut for the Los Angeles Kings against the Montreal Canadiens at Staples Center on Thursday.

Versteeg was acquired a day before the NHL Trade Deadline from the Carolina Hurricanes. He skated with center Jeff Carter and left wing Tanner Pearson at the Kings' practice facility, and expects some adrenaline for his Kings debut.

"When you play with a new team, it's a little exciting, a little nerve wracking, all in all," Versteeg said. "It doesn't matter how many times you've been moved. Tonight is just really a game where I'm going to have to keep it simple and stay within myself and contribute in whatever way I can."

Versteeg is familiar with the Kings' coaching philosophy and family tree stemming from coach Darryl Sutter, having attended Rich and Ron Sutter's hockey school growing up. He also played with Darryl Sutter's nephew, Brandon, for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League.

"Darryl lets me know -- it's black or white," Versteeg said. "He tells you straight up what it is. That's what you respect. I've known the Sutters for a long time. There's no beating around the bush."

Sutter said Wednesday it was ideal to have a player of Versteeg's pedigree join the Kings. Versteeg won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 and 2015.

 "It's similar to [Vincent Lecavalier] and [Rob Scuderi], guys with championships under their belts - multiple ones. It speaks for itself," Sutter told LAKingsInsider.com.

Montreal held an optional skate at Staples Center after it lost for the seventh time in eight road games Wednesday to the Anaheim Ducks, 3-2 in a shootout. Right wing Mike Brown will return to the lineup, according to the Canadiens' Twitter account.

Goalie Ben Scrivens will start for the Canadiens. He has lost all five of his road games this season.

Here are the projected lineups:

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Michael McCarron

Stefan Matteau - Jacob De La Rose - Mike Brown

Paul Byron - Phillip Danault - Torrey Mitchell

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Greg Pateryn

Morgan Ellis - Mark Barberio

Ben Scrivens

Mike Condon

Injured: Daniel Carr (lower body), David Desharnais (foot), Brian Flynn (lower body), Tom Gilbert (knee) Jeff Petry (hernia), Carey Price (leg), Nathan Beaulieu (lower body)

Scratched: Victor Bartley, Sven Andrighetto, Lucas Lessio

KINGS

Milan Lucic - Anze Kopitar - Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Kris Versteeg

Dustin Brown - Vincent Lecavalier - Trevor Lewis

Dwight King - Nick Shore - Kyle Clifford  

Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez  

Brayden McNabb - Luke Schenn

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Jordan Nolan (undisclosed), Matt Greene (shoulder), Marian Gaborik (knee)

Scratched: Jamie McBain, Andy Andreoff

Status report: Quick was off the ice first. … McBain and Andreoff were the extras. … Scuderi has been paired with Doughty the past two practices.

Who's hot: Galchenyuk has five goals in his past four games and is one goal short of his career-high 20. … Quick has won his past two starts at home, making 48 saves on 50 shots. … Pearson has three goals in his past two games.

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