The playoff-bound Los Angeles Kings probably will be careful with injured defenseman Drew Doughty.
The Vancouver Canucks hope to take advantage of his likely absence as they may be welcoming back their points leader.
Henrik Sedin could return after a four-game absence as the Canucks try to avoid a season sweep by the visiting Kings on Saturday night.
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Los Angeles (45-27-6) had its eight-game road win streak snapped Thursday with a 2-1 defeat to San Jose in the opener of a four-game trip, but the bigger concern was an upper-body injury suffered by Doughty. He was knocked out midway through the first period, appearing to hurt his left shoulder while checking Tyler Kennedy.
"Anytime you lose a D-man especially one of his caliber it’s a big hole," defenseman Jake Muzzin said. "I thought we did well trying to replace him."
Doughty is among the NHL leaders in average ice time at 25:43.
If he’s out, it figures to be easier for Sedin to produce if he comes back for the Canucks. Sedin has been out with a left leg injury but returned to practice Wednesday.
"He’s one of our best players, he’s our captain so it’s always good to get him back in," coach John Tortorella said. "I think it strengthens us up the middle for sure. They’ll have (Friday) off, we’ll see how he feels but we’re pointing towards Saturday, hopefully he can play."
Sedin has 46 points and said it has been difficult seeing Vancouver (34-32-11) go 1-2-1 without him with three straight defeats.
"Watching games from the sideline, it’s not fun, especially in the tough stretch where we are so it’s been tough," Sedin said.
Vancouver has scored four goals during this losing streak and has been outscored 12-4 in going 0-3-1 against Los Angeles this season. Five Kings have produced four points apiece in the season series.
One of them is Anze Kopitar, who totaled three goals and three assists in a four-game point streak that ended Thursday.
Coach Darryl Sutter may want to start Jonathan Quick, who has won five straight road starts and has allowed a total of two goals in winning all three starts against the Canucks this season. The wins over Vancouver have been at home, and Quick is 2-7-0 with a 2.43 goals-against average in nine career regular-season starts at Rogers Arena.
The other option is rookie Martin Jones, a North Vancouver native who has never faced the Canucks.
The Kings are one of the league’s lowest-scoring teams with 2.41 goals per game while the Canucks are the West’s worst at 2.34.
Vancouver’s run of five straight postseason appearances is nearing an end, but its coach said he was still pleased with the team’s approach.
"Every day they’ve come in and worked," Tortorella said. "Their attitude has been fantastic. They’ve come in and worked hard, they’ve been diligent in our meetings. I don’t have one complaint about how our team has handled a tough situation."
Tortorella will likely start Eddie Lack, who has a 3.68 GAA during this losing streak. Lack started against the Kings once, making 19 saves and getting outdueled by Quick in a 1-0 road loss Jan. 13.