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Kings' Kopitar likely out against Penguins

by Wes Crosby

KINGS (6-1-2) at PENGUINS (5-2-1)


PITTSBURGH -- Forward Anze Kopitar (upper body) participated in the Los Angeles Kings' morning skate at Consol Energy Center, but most likely will not play Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kopitar, who missed Los Angeles' 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, skated in Pittsburgh the past two days. He's had a slow start this season with two goals and three points in eight games.

He did not participate in line rushes.

The Kings recalled forward David Van Der Gulik from Manchester of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Van Der Gulik is expected to slot in as the fourth-line left wing alongside center Andy Andreoff and right wing Jordan Nolan.

Van Der Gulik has two goals and nine points in 42 NHL games with the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche. He averaged 5:41 of ice time in two games with Colorado last season.

"My last game last year in Colorado I got hurt, but I left there thinking when I got sent back down that you never know if I'm going to get a chance again," Van Der Gulik said. "So I'm happy to be back and I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunity."

The Penguins lineup will remain untouched, with defenseman Paul Martin staying in the lineup after missing practice Wednesday with a stiff back. Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said Martin's absence was because of a maintenance day and that the defenseman "feels great" entering the game against Los Angeles.

After their 8-3 win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, the Penguins are expecting a more defensive-oriented game against the defending Stanley Cup champions. They could face Martin Jones, who was the first goalie off the ice Thursday, rather than Jonathan Quick.

Jones, who has a 0.75 goals-against average and .970 save percentage in two games this season, allowed two goals on 37 shots in a 3-2 win in Pittsburgh last season.

"You know that they're experienced and they believe in the way they play," Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said. "So you have to be ready to do the same thing on your side. I think you get up for these ones, knowing who you're playing against, and we want to make sure we're at our best."

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said he views the game as a personal measuring stick.

"I'm going to be matched up against Sid as much as I can [Thursday]," Doughty said. "And I've had the opportunity to play with him a few times. I obviously know how good of a player he is. He's the best player in the League and he's going to be my biggest challenge of the year."

Here are the projected lineups:


Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Jarret Stoll - Justin Williams

David Van Der Gulik - Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan

Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez - Robyn Regehr

Brayden McNabb - Matt Greene

Martin Jones

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: None

Suspended: Slava Voynov

Injured: Marian Gaborik (upper body), Anze Kopitar (upper body), Trevor Lewis (upper body)


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Pascal Dupuis - Evgeni Malkin - Blake Comeau

Nick Spaling - Brandon Sutter - Steve Downie

Zach Sill - Marcel Goc - Craig Adams

Olli Maatta - Kris Letang

Christian Ehrhoff - Paul Martin

Rob Scuderi - Simon Despres

Marc-Andre Fleury

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Jayson Megna

Injured: Beau Bennett (lower body), Robert Bortuzzo (lower body)

Status report: Pittsburgh recalled Megna on Thursday to provide depth with Bennett working to return from a lower-body injury. ... Bortuzzo participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate and could play as early as Saturday. … Gaborik, who hasn't played since Oct. 12, skated during the Kings' morning skate after it was expected he wouldn't resume skating until early next week.

Who's hot: Hornqvist is second on the Penguins in points (11) and goals (five). He has multiple points in four of his first eight games in Pittsburgh and at least one in six. ... Crosby leads Pittsburgh with seven goals and 14 points, and is one point behind Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin for the League lead. … Toffoli leads the Kings with 13 points and is tied with Carter for the Kings lead in goals with five. He has scored one goal in each of his past two games.

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