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Kings face Maple Leafs without Pearson, Toffoli

by Curtis Zupke /

MAPLE LEAFS (22-17-3) at KINGS (19-13-10)


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The depth of the Los Angeles Kings is about to be tested again.

The Kings will be without left wing Tanner Pearson and right wing Tyler Toffoli, two-thirds of "That '70s Line," indefinitely, starting Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center.

Center Nick Shore was recalled but he did not take part in line rushes and center Andy Andreoff skated on the fourth line. Toffoli and Pearson have scored 24 of the Kings' 118 goals. How do the Kings make up for their absence?

"You don't," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "They're very important players on our team, not just numbers-wise, but they're a big part of our whole puck-possession game, our penalty-killing game. All that. You don't replace those players. What you do is you put other guys in, guys that are either [complaining] about ice time that think they should be playing … or veterans have to give you a little bit more."

Pearson was initially reported to have a broken ankle but it was revealed Sunday to be a fractured fibula. He went feet first into the end boards Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. He was placed on injured reserve two weeks before he was to be among six rookies to play in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Tofffoli has been diagnosed with mononucleosis.

Sutter put the onus on Andreoff, a rugged two-way player who has played nine games, and right wing Jordan Nolan, who has been scratched 12 of the past 14 games.

"I'd say Andreoff and Nolan would both be in the very same boat: guys that play a handful of shifts once in a while and need to play a hell of a lot better than they have," Sutter said.

Shore has 41 points in 37 games with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League. He has yet to make his NHL debut, but Sutter indicated he will play at some point.

"I know it's injury that's brought him up here but it's the very same as Toffoli and Pearson, same age, same type of first year, same type of second year," Sutter said. "He's going to play."

The Kings have 52 man-games lost to injury, mostly to their defense. Losing Pearson and Toffoli hurts, but the Kings are used to adversity this season.

"They're a big part of our team," captain Dustin Brown said. "Statistically, they've scored a lot of goals for our team. But it's an opportunity for guys to take more of a role in that. I think our team has always historically been pretty good at finding a way to get through it."

The Kings are 0-1-2 in their seven-game homestand, and have allowed 15 goals in regulation and overtime in that span.

Toronto is 1-1-0 under coach Peter Horachek. The Maple Leafs begin nine of 11 games on the road.

Former Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier will make his second appearance at Staples Center. He allowed two goals in the first period and left the game with a lower-body injury in his homecoming last season.

"It was sad what happened last year," Bernier told the Toronto Sun on Sunday. "I'll be really excited, but at the same time, it's just another game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel WinnikTyler BozakPhil Kessel

James van RiemsdykNazem KadriRichard Panik

Leo KomarovMike SantorelliDavid Clarkson

David BoothTrevor SmithTroy Bodie

Dion PhaneufCody Franson

Morgan RiellyRoman Polak

Jake GardinerStephane Robidas

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Injured: Peter Holland (upper body), Joffrey Lupul (lower body)

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Sam Carrick


Marian GaborikAnze KopitarJeff Carter

Dustin BrownJarret StollJustin Williams

Dwight KingMike Richards - Trevor Lewis

Kyle CliffordAndy AndreoffJordan Nolan

Brayden McNabbDrew Doughty

Jeff Schultz - Alec Martinez

Jake MuzzinMatt Greene

Martin Jones

Jonathan Quick

Injured: Tanner Pearson (leg), Robyn Regehr (upper body), Tyler Toffoli (mononucleosis)

Suspended: Slava Voynov

Scratched: Nick Shore, Jamie McBain

Status report: Jones was first off the ice. It will be his second start since his last win Dec. 4 … Korbinian and Holzer will likely be scratched, according to the Toronto Sun.

Who's hot: van Riemsdyk matched a career-high with three points Friday and has 11 points in his past eight games … Kessel had his 14th multipoint game of the season Friday… Gaborik has 12 goals and five assists in his past 10 games against Toronto.

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