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Kings trying to move on minus Kopitar

by Mike G. Morreale
KINGS (43-26-6) at OILERS (23-41-11)


Last 10 -- Los Angeles 7-1-2; Edmonton 1-6-3

Season series -- This is the fourth and final meeting between the Western Conference foes. Los Angeles is seeking its fourth straight win against Edmonton as it has outscored the Oilers 10-5 in the last three meetings. In their most recent game, the Kings won Feb. 2 in Edmonton.

Big story -- A big win by the Kings against Colorado on Saturday was overshadowed by an even greater loss when top scorer Anze Kopitar suffered a broken right ankle with 4:21 left in the second period. The injury -- which could sideline Kopitar at least six weeks -- comes five days after Los Angeles lost its second-leading scorer, Justin Williams, for at least four weeks with a separated shoulder. Kopitar, who appeared in his second All-Star game last month, will see his club-record streak of 330 consecutive games played come to end.

Team Scope:

Kings --
Despite the loss of Kopitar late in the second period, the Kings showed their resiliency in the third by scoring twice while keeping Colorado off the board in a 4-1 victory. The win gave the Kings a sweep of the season series with the Avalanche, something they'll try to duplicate against the Oilers. Jonathan Quick made 20 saves Saturday, and Willie Mitchell, Michal Handzus, Ryan Smyth and Trevor Lewis scored in the victory.

Oilers -- Of its NHL-high 41 losses this season, it's likely none was more painful than Saturday's 5-4 shootout loss to provincial rival Calgary on Saturday in Edmonton. The home team watched a 4-1 lead disappear with 14 minutes remaining in the third period as Jarome Iginla, Curtis Glencross and Steve Staios connected in regulation and then Alex Tanguay scored the only goal in the shootout, enabling the Flames to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Who's hot -- Quick is 3-0-1 record in his last four games. … Kings center Michal Handzus, who will be looked upon to pick up the slack in the absences of Kopitar and Williams, has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last seven games.

Injury report -- Beside Kopitar and Williams, Scott Parse (hip) is out for the Kings. … The Oilers are without forwards Taylor Hall (ankle), Ales Hemsky (shoulder), Sam Gagner (hand), Shawn Horcoff (ankle) and defenseman Ryan Whitney (ankle). Left wing Magnus Paajarvi, who left Saturday's game with a head injury, is day-to-day.

Stat pack -- Kings captain Dustin Brown has 3 goals, 2 assists and 16 hits in his last four games. Brown ranks fourth in the League with 279 hits through 75 games this season.

Puck drop -- "He's our best player," Brown said of Kopitar. "We've got to find a way, either way. Injuries happen during the year. You don't want to have your best player go down, but if that's the case, we need to shoulder the responsibility collectively and find a way. No other team is going to feel sorry for us."
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