Slumping Kings likely to get key missing piece back Sunday

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.”

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