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Kings switch defensive pairs for Blackhawks

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Not much else has worked in generating offense for the Los Angeles Kings, so why not a change on the blue line?

It appears coach Darryl Sutter will tweak his defensive pairings when the Kings host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-CA) at Staples Center. Drew Doughty played with Willie Mitchell while Jake Muzzin was with Matt Greene in the morning skate.

"Drew's playing a lot of minutes and he needs a little bit more stability in his own zone from his partner," Sutter said.

Muzzin and Greene have played together earlier this season and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, but it has been a while since Doughty has played with Mitchell.

"I like playing with [Mitchell]," Doughty said. "He's a really good defender, a really good player. A smart hockey player. It doesn't matter who they put me with. I'm going to play the same way. I'm looking forward to playing with him [Monday]."

Los Angeles has been shutout in three of the past six games and has scored three goals in that span, all by Anze Kopitar. The Kings have matched up fairly well against Chicago this season, losing by 3-1 and 1-0 scores in the two previous games. But they are way beyond taking positives out of losses.

"We got to get a win," Greene said. "That's it. We're not getting scoring that we want against them and we've got to break through and have a good game [Monday]."

For the Blackhawks, forward Marian Hossa did not take part in the morning skate but coach Joel Quenneville said he expects Hossa to be in the lineup. Forward Bryan Bickell, who did not play Saturday against the San Jose Sharks, skated on the third line Monday.

The game will be No. 6,000 in Blackhawks history.

Here are the expected lineups for the Kings and Blackhawks:


Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Brandon Saad - Michal Handzus - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Kris Versteeg

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Brandon Pirri, Sheldon Brookbank, Michael Kostka

Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (shoulder)


Tyler Toffoli - Anze Kopitar - Jeff Carter

Dustin Brown - Mike Richards - Justin Williams

Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan

Willie Mitchell - Drew Doughty

Robyn Regehr - Slava Voynov

Jake Muzzin - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: Matt Frattin, Jeff Schultz

Injured: Alec Martinez (elbow)

Notes: Quick was off the ice first. It will be his 15th start in 16 games since he came back from a groin injury. … Frattin rotated with Nolan on the fourth line so he might draw in. It was difficult to tell because Schultz, Martinez and Jones were the only extras to stay out and the rest of the team came off the ice at the same time. … The Toffoli-Kopitar-Carter line combined for 15 shots against the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday.

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