LA Kings activate Alec Martinez after 18 games out

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Kings have activated defenseman Alec Martinez from injured reserve after an 18-game absence with an apparent concussion.

The defending Stanley Cup champions announced the move Friday.

Martinez hasn’t played since Feb. 7, when he was hurt in a game at Tampa Bay on a hard check from Cedric Paquette.

Martinez has five goals and 12 assists in 45 games this season for the Kings, who will welcome the return of their postseason hero. Martinez scored the series-winning overtime goals in last season’s Western Conference finals at Chicago and the Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers.

The Kings (34-22-14) are one point behind Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division, and they trail Winnipeg in the wild-card race. The Kings host Vancouver on Saturday.