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Kings try to regain Pacific lead without Martinez

L.A. defenseman out against Vancouver with undisclosed injury

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (46-27-5) at CANUCKS (29-36-13)

TV: 10 p.m. ET; FS-W, SNP, NHL.TV

VANCOUVER -- The Los Angeles Kings may have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the team is still jostling for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

Los Angeles, 2-5-0 in the past seven games, visits the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, currently one point behind the first-place Anaheim Ducks with four games remaining.

"Tonight is must-win game; it is time to get back on track," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We've been bad for too long and that's not how we're going to win. You can't be playing bad going into the playoffs because you are just going to get swept."

Defenseman Alec Martinez didn't skate Monday and is out against Vancouver. He is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. 

Luke Schenn moved into his spot on the second pairing with Jake Muzzin. Defenseman Jamie McBain, who was on the third pairing with Rob Scuderi, is expected to play his first game since Feb. 25.

Martinez has 10 goals and 21 assists in 78 games, 182 blocked shots and averages 21:09 minutes of ice-time per game. McBain has two goals and six assists and averages 12:06 in 40 games this season.

"Nothing can really prepare you to play a game," said McBain, who has been a healthy scratch the past 18 games. "But our trainers and coaches do a good job off the ice making sure you are keeping yourself in shape and on the ice making sure we are doing everything we can to simulate games."

The Canucks are coming off consecutive wins against the San Jose Sharks and Ducks, and are trying to win three straight for the first time this season.

"That's part of the reason we are in the position we are in; if you are going to be a playoff team you have to string wins together," said forward Derek Dorsett, who returns to the lineup after missing nine of the past 10 games with an upper-body injury. "We don't want to mail this season in. That's not who we are. We want to show character."

Vancouver's last two wins helped the Kings, who are three points ahead of the Sharks.

"We're happy they are beating teams for us," Doughty said. "And that just shows you they are still playing hard so tonight is not going to be easy for us."

Here are the projected lineups: 

KINGS

Tanner Pearson - Anze Kopitar - Kris Versteeg  

Milan Lucic - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Vincent Lecavalier - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Andy Andreoff  
 
Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Luke Schenn

Rob Scuderi - Jamie McBain
 
Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth
 
Injured: Alec Martinez (undisclosed), Matt Greene (shoulder), Marian Gaborik (knee), Jordan Nolan (undisclosed)

Scratched: Nick Shore, Nic Dowd, Kevin Gravel
 
CANUCKS

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Derek Dorsett - Bo Horvat - Emerson Etem

Jared McCann - Markus Granlund - Jake Virtanen  

Andrey Pedan - Brendan Gaunce - Alexandre Burrows
 
Dan Hamhuis - Christopher Tanev  

Ben Hutton - Nikita Tryamkin

Matt Bartkowski - Alex Biega
 
Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom
 
Injured: Sven Baertschi (lower body), Chris Higgins (lower body), Linden Vey (upper body), Radim Vrbata (lower body), Christopher Tanev (upper body), Luca Sbisa (upper body), Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alexander Edler (fractured tibia)

Scratched: Yannick Weber
 
Status report: Virtanen returns following a two-game suspension for a late hit on Sharks defenseman Roman Polak on March 29. … Defenseman Andrey Pedan will play as a fourth-line left wing for a second straight game.

Who's hot: Carter has three goals and an assist in his past two games, and five goals and three assists in his past five. … Hansen has a goal and three assists in his past two games on the top line with the Sedins.

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