The Los Angeles Kings have been on a trying journey since Anze Kopitar was sidelined with an upper-body injury and it’s led to them going on a 0-2-1 stretch with just four combined goals. Fortunately, Kopitar should be available for Sunday’s game against Carolina.
“I’m planning on [playing], unless there’s something really drastic that happens, but I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything this afternoon,” he told LA Kings Insider. “Hopefully it stays that way, and hopefully I feel like that tomorrow.”
When Kopitar was hurt, the Kings’ unusual cap situation stemming from Slava Voynov‘s indefinite suspension that doesn’t take him off the cap led to them playing shorthanded against the Flyers. Los Angeles was able to call up a player for its next game.
More than that though, the absence of Kopitar added to the Kings’ underlining offensive problems. Much of Los Angeles’ early success has been thanks to That 70s Line, which consists of Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, and Tanner Pearson. Those three slowed down at the same time Kopitar went on the sidelines and that combination has been bad for the Kings.
Getting Kopitar back is likely necessary to counter their early season single line dependency. It would also help the Kings substantially if Marian Gaborik was healthy enough to play. He’s not expected to be available on Sunday, but is “very close.”
The first ramification of Slava Voynov’s suspended-indefinitely-but-still-on-the-books situation has come about, as the Kings will play with less than a full compliment of players tonight in Philadelphia.
Anze Kopitar is out with an upper-body injury and because the club is operating so close to the salary cap ceiling, it is unable to get a replacement forward in the lineup.
More, from the L.A. Times:
Per LA Kings Insider, the Kings have been in “ongoing conversations” with both the NHL and PA regarding potential cap relief for Voynov, who is still on the books at $4.16M — despite the fact he’s not available to play while under investigation for allegations of domestic assault.
As a result, the Kings will have 11 forwards tonight: Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Dwight King, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford, Jarret Stoll, Justin Williams, Andrey Andreoff and Jordan Nolan.
Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Trevor Lewis (both of whom are on IR) are out.
Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter, Edmonton goalie Ben Scrivens and Islanders center Frans Nielsen were named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 26, the league announced on Monday.
Carter tied for the League lead with six points (2-4—6) in two outings to help the Kings (6-1-1, 13 points) complete a perfect six-game homestand for the first time in franchise history.
Scrivens posted a 3-0-0 record with a 2.33 goals-against average and .920 save percentage to lead the Oilers (3-4-1, 7 points) to their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 26-29.
Nielsen tied for the League lead with four goals in three games to power the Islanders (6-2-0, 12 points) to a pair of victories, helping the team match its best eight-game start in the last 31 years (2001-02: 6-0-1-1).
Quite the turnaround from Scrivens — his three-game winning streak came after a dreadful start to the season in which he allowed 15 goals on 99 shots (.848 save percentage), and was the goalie of record for three of Edmonton’s five losses to open the campaign.