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Clifford a question mark for Kings

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- The big drama for the Los Angeles Kings at the morning skate Friday was the absence of forward Kyle Clifford, which was explained by coach Darryl Sutter.

"He gets here before you guys," Sutter said. "Then he was doing a Geico commercial, and then he was doing the weather with Channel 4 this morning up in the helicopter."

Sutter expanded to say Clifford "had … what does [St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock] call it? A maintenance day, the day of the game."

If Clifford can't play, that would seem to be the only significant change for the Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Blues at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Clifford is one of the Kings' better all-round forwards, who can bang and score on occasion. Los Angeles needs more of the latter to close out St. Louis. If he can't go, the club could turn to rookie Tyler Toffoli.

Toffoli, 21, made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 5 and didn't look out of place. He put two shots on goal and had a good shift in overtime in which his line kept the puck in the Blues' zone. Toffoli said his family and girlfriend were watching at home in the Toronto area.

"It was an incredible experience," said Toffoli, the second-leading goal-scorer in the American Hockey League at the time of his recall April 24. "When they tied it up there in the third, it was so loud. It was a crazy experience and just to win in overtime made everything better."

Sutter, who tends to take a while to warm up to younger players, gave Toffoli a passing grade.

"He needs to watch, practice, play," Sutter said. "Whether it's productive right now [I don't know], but it will be productive for him soon."

Robyn Regehr said he broke his nose for a second time in Game 5 when he caught a stick on the bridge of his nose from the Blues' T.J. Oshie. Regehr initially broke it in Game 1 when he took a skate to the face.

"Just putting my nose in all the wrong spots," Regehr said. "A little more hook to it, that's all." He won't miss any time.

Here is the Kings' projected lineup for Game 6:

Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams

Dwight King - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter

Dustin Penner - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Tyler Toffoli

Robyn Regehr - Drew Doughty

Rob Scuderi - Alec Martinez

Jake Muzzin - Slava Voynov

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Jordan Nolan, Matt Greene, Keaton Ellerby, Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Brandon Kozun, Robert Czarnik, Linden Vey, Andy Andreoff, Tanner Pearson, Nicolas Deslauriers, Andrew Campbell, Brian O’Neill

Injured: Willie Mitchell (knee)

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