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Kings, Coyotes both missing key players

by Jerry Brown
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Thursday night's matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes might be as much about who's not in the lineup as who is.

The Kings improved to 4-1-0 with a 4-3 home victory against Carolina on Wednesday -- but lost star defenseman Drew Doughty to an upper body injury that could leave him out for an extended period. The 20-year-old defenseman, who was hit by Carolina's Eric Cole in the first period and did not return for the second period, did not accompany the team to Phoenix – the first stop on a five-game road trip for the Kings. GM Dean Lombardi said Thursday that his 20-year-old star will miss at least a week.

Defenseman Matt Greene is also out for Los Angeles, but could return soon. He received medical clearance to resume full-contact practices after surgery and could be ready sometime on the trip.

But the Coyotes have a couple of missing bodies of their own.

Captain Shane Doan will be serving the first of a three-game suspension for Sunday's blindside hit on Anaheim's Dan Sexton. Doan was shocked he received any suspension, let along an extended one, and said a camera angle from behind gave an unrealistic version of the play.

"Everything in the rules says the onus is on the hitter not to hit the player, not to hurt him, and I deliberately didn't hit him," Doan said. "I cut in front of him, I don't catch his head, but they want to send a message and obviously they did. ... I really don't understand it but I have to accept it, I guess."

Coyotes center Martin Hanzal left the Anaheim game with a lower body injury and is out 1-2 weeks. Hanzal is Phoenix's best defensive forward and will be missed as the Coyotes try to slow down Anze Kopitar and the potent Kings. Center Andrew Ebbett was recalled from the minors and was skating with Petr Prucha and Lauri Korpikoski at practice.

Kopitar lead the Kings in 2009-10 with 34 goals  but didn't get his first of this season until Wednesday.

Phoenix will get veteran Ray Whitney back for this game after he missed two games with an upper-body injury. He'll take Hanzal's place among the top six forwards. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski, a late scratch in Anaheim, is also expected back.

The Coyotes are looking for their first victory of the season at home. They are technically 0-1-1 after losing the designated "home" game to the Bruins in Prague as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere series and falling 2-1 in overtime to Detroit last Saturday. Phoenix was 2-2 out of the gate last season before reeling off a four-game winning streak that sent the Coyotes on their way to the most successful season in franchise history.

Los Angeles will have starting goalie Jonathan Quick back in the net. Quick, who has allowed only three goals in his three games this season, got Wednesday off with backup Jonathan Bernier getting the win over the Hurricanes. Ilya Bryzgalov will be back in goal for Phoenix after sitting out Sunday's 3-2 loss in Anaheim. Bryzgalov has been sharp in his first three starts, with a 2.28 goals against average and a .938 save percentage, but Phoenix's offensive woes have left him with a 1-1-1 record.
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