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Preview: Kings at Rangers

New York forward Kevin Hayes out 2-3 weeks because of lower-body injury; Los Angeles aims to end three-game losing streak

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

KINGS (22-20-4) at RANGERS (30-16-1)

7 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-W, SN, SN1, TVA Sports, NHL.TV

Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings have lost three straight games, the latest a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Saturday when they allowed three power-play goals, including an empty-net goal. The Kings are three points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference but have three games in hand. Los Angeles did not have a morning skate Monday but practiced at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Center Nic Dowd didn't practice and is listed as day to day by coach Darryl Sutter. Dowd sustained a lower-body injury in the second period against the Islanders and didn't play in the third. It's unclear who will start in goal, but Sutter was slightly critical of Peter Budaj after the loss to the Islanders, especially after he allowed a goal that went in off of his mask 2:30 into the game. Instead of catching the puck with his glove, Budaj tried to make a head save. The puck fell to his feet and its momentum carried it into the net. "It wasn't a shot on goal," Sutter said. Center Anze Kopitar will be playing in his 805th NHL game, all with the Kings. He will tie Rob Blake for fifth place on the Kings' all-time games played list.


Rangers team scope

New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes had an MRI on Monday and will be sidelined 2-3 weeks because of a lower-body injury sustained in the second period of a 1-0 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. The Rangers have won back-to-back games in part because they have rediscovered their defensive structure in front of goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 21 saves against the Red Wings for his second shutout of the season. He had allowed 16 goals in a three-game losing streak prior to defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Thursday. "Sure I've changed a little bit, my mindset and tried to be a little bit better, but I think the biggest change is the way we play in front of me, with the structure and not giving up the big chances right in front," Lundqvist said following the win in Detroit. "It makes a big difference for me, obviously." Alain Vigneault will be coaching his 1,100th NHL game, making him the seventh active coach in the League to reach the milestone, joining Joel Quenneville, Lindy Ruff, Ken Hitchcock, Barry Trotz, Paul Maurice and Sutter. He will become the 18th coach in NHL history to get to 1,100 games. Vigneault has 596 wins. The Rangers are 14-5-0 against the Western Conference, including 7-1-0 against the Pacific Division.


Kings projected lineup

Dwight King -- Anze Kopitar -- Marian Gaborik

Tanner Pearson - Jeff Carter -- Dustin Brown

Trevor Lewis - Andy Andreoff -- Devin Setoguchi

Kyle Clifford -- Nick Shore -- Jordan Nolan 

Jake Muzzin -- Drew Doughty

Derek Forbort -- Alec Martinez

Kevin Gravel -- Tom Gilbert

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Brayden McNabb

Injured: Nic Dowd (lower body), Tyler Toffoli (lower body), Jonathan Quick (groin), Matt Greene (back/groin)


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Rick Nash -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Jimmy Vesey -- J.T. Miller -- Michael Grabner

Matt Puempel -- Oscar Lindberg -- Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Nick Holden -- Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei -- Adam Clendening

Henrik Lundqvist

Magnus Hellberg

Scratched: None

Injured: Marc Staal (concussion), Kevin Hayes (lower body), Jesper Fast (upper body), Antti Raanta (lower body)


Status report

Sutter said Greene has been shut down because of lingering problems with his back and groin. … Staal is expected to miss his eighth straight game and Fast could miss his third straight game. … Puempel could play in place of Hayes after missing eight games because of a concussion.


Who's hot

Kopitar has eight points, including seven assists, in his past six games. … Carter has eight points, including three goals, in his past seven games. … Miller has goals in back-to-back games and four in his past five games. … Zuccarello has seven assists on a five-game point streak.

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