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Kings minus Doughty for home opener against Blues

by Mike G. Morreale
BLUES (2-3-0) at KINGS (2-1-1)


Season series:
The Blues swept the season series in 2010-11, winning the fourth and final meeting on March 17 in Los Angeles, 4-0. Matt D'Agostini scored a pair of goals and Jaroslav Halak made 17 saves to earn the shutout.

Big story: Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty, who was re-signed to an eight-year, $56-million contract in September, missed all but 1:34 of Saturday's victory over the Flyers with an apparent upper-body injury. Doughty was hit in the chest by Flyers rookie forward Zac Rinaldo just 24 seconds into the game, and played just one more shift later in the first period before leaving for good. The Kings say Doughty does not have a head injury but will miss 7 to 10 days.

Team Scope:

Blues: The Blues will close out the month of October with five of their next six games on the road. If the team hopes to have any measure of success, it will need to improve on special teams. The club ranks 26th in the League on the power play (1-for-20) and is 30th on the penalty kill (6 goals allowed on 18 opponent power plays). Unfortunately for the Blues, it doesn't get any easier against the Kings, who rank fifth in the league on the power play.

"It's obvious right now," coach Davis Payne said when asked if the power play is costing his team victories. "That point is here and now. We look at that every day. We know exactly what we have to work on. That's crystal clear."

Kings: Center Mike Richards returned to Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday for the first time since his trade to Los Angeles during the offseason. Richards set up the winning goal 1:39 into overtime in a 3-2 victory. He received a positive reaction after being announced among the starters. Richards earned 20:58 of ice time, took three shots, dished out three hits and won 68 percent of his faceoff on 19 opportunities. Richards spent six seasons in Philadelphia before his trade to the Kings for forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Who's hot:
Kings forward Justin Williams, who seems to have developed nice chemistry on the club's top line with Anze Kopitar and Simon Gagne, has 2 goals and 5 points in four games for the Kings. It appears the 30-year-old right wing, who is averaging 18:11 of ice time, is fully recovered from the off-season shoulder surgery he required.

Injury report:
Doughty was placed on the injured list Sunday after suffering an upper-body injury against the Flyers on Saturday. … St. Louis is expected to be without David Perron (concussion), B.J. Crombeen (shoulder), Carlo Colaiacovo (concussion) and Andy McDonald (head).

Stat pack: Before this season, King defenseman Jack Johnson had not scored a game-winning goal in his NHL career that included 282 games. In his last four games, the 24-year-old Johnson has struck for two game-winners.

Puck drop: It'll be interesting to see how Kings coach Terry Murray deals with the absence of Doughty, who entered the game fourth in the League in average ice time at 27:33 through three games. The Kings recalled defenseman Slava Voynov from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League on Sunday. On Saturday against the Flyers, Jack Johnson logged a game-high 30:57, Willie Mitchell played 27:15, and Rob Scuderi played 22:39 while blocking a game-high five shots.

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