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Preview: Kings at Canucks

Los Angeles clinging to playoff hopes; Loui Eriksson could return for Vancouver

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (36-33-7) at CANUCKS (30-37-9)

10 p.m. ET; SN360, SNP, FS-W, NHL.TV

 

Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings trail the Nashville Predators by 10 points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Los Angeles has six games remaining and the Predators have five games left. "We need to win every game," forward Nick Shore said. "The goal of this team is to stay in the fight and right now we're still in it." The Kings are coming off a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, their second win in the past six games (2-4-0). Los Angeles had an optional morning skate Friday and based on practice in Vancouver on Thursday there could be some new forward lines. Jonny Brodzinski, who played his first NHL game March 25, replaced Jarome Iginla on right wing of the top line, with Iginla moving to the second line and Tyler Toffoli dropping to the third. "We're fighting for our lives so we're going to do that tonight," said left wing Kyle Clifford, who moved from the fourth to the second line. "It's not over until it's over." Jonathan Quick, who is 4-4-0 in his past nine games having given up 16 goals in that stretch, will be in goal after Ben Bishop made 25 saves against the Flames.

 

Canucks team scope

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher will return from injury and forward Griffen Molino will make his NHL debut. Molino was signed to a two-year contract as a free agent Tuesday after his season at Western Michigan University ended. The 23-year-old had 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 40 games this season and will make his debut on the fourth line. "My best asset is my speed," he said. "I try bring that every shift and my hockey IQ and play-making ability. Forward Loui Eriksson is a game-time decision after missing 11 games with a knee injury. "We haven't really decided yet if I am going to play," Eriksson said Friday. "We'll see how it progresses through the day. It's still not quite there." Stecher missed one game with a shoulder injury sustained Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets but wanted to come back even though the Canucks, who are 2-7-2 in their past 11 games, have been eliminated from the playoffs. "I want to show these guys I am willing to put my body on the line to help compete and win hockey games with them," said Stecher, who leads Vancouver defensemen with 24 points.

 

Kings projected lineup

Marian Gaborik -- Anze Kopitar -- Jonny Brodzinski

Kyle Clifford -- Jeff Carter -- Jarome Iginla

Dustin Brown -- Nick Shore -- Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson -- Adrian Kempe -- Trevor Lewis

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Paul LaDue

Brayden McNabb -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Nic Dowd, Andy Andreoff, Jordan Nolan, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Matt Greene (back)

 

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Michael Chaput

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Brock Boeser

Reid Boucher -- Brandon Sutter -- Nikolay Goldobin

Griffen Molino -- Drew Shore -- Alex Biega

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stecher

Luca Sbisa -- Christopher Tanev

Ben Hutton -- Nikita Tryamkin

Ryan Miller

Richard Bachman                                                                             

Scratched: Philip Larsen

Injured: Loui Eriksson (knee), Joseph Cramarossa (lower body), Jack Skille (ankle), Jayson Megna (upper body), Markus Granlund (wrist surgery), Brendan Gaunce (hand), Jacob Markstrom (knee surgery), Anton Rodin (knee), Erik Gudbranson (wrist), Derek Dorsett (neck)

 

Status report

Andreoff likely will be a healthy scratch after playing 2:10 and having 34 penalty minutes against the Flames. … If Eriksson plays, it will be on left wing of the Sutter line, with Boucher moving to right wing and Goldobin likely a healthy scratch. … The Canucks sent Joseph Labate to Utica of the American Hockey League on Wednesday to make room for Molino.

 

Who's hot

Kopitar has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … Boeser has two goals in three games.

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