Kings defense takes a hit

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Teemu Selanne’s first-period hit on the Kings’ Robyn Regehr was all his Ducks teammates could talk about following Saturday night’s Western Conference semifinal series opener.

But Regehr’s Kings teammates — and his head coach especially — were less anxious to talk about it. Regehr did not return to action Saturday and with the Kings already down one defenseman in Willie Mitchell, reserves from Manchester, including Jeff Schultz who has been with the team but has not yet played since Game 7, were activated.

"I’m not talking anything about injuries, ever," said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. "It’s not something you should have to talk about publicly, it’s to protect the player and not give the other team the advantage. Hell, (the Ducks) are so smart they don’t even announce their goalie until after warmup."

It’s safe to assume that neither will play in Monday’s Game 2. The Kings were left with five defenseman in Game 1, with all seeing increased time on the ice with the exception of Drew Doughty, who played 33:06 and regularly averages 30 or more minutes. 

"When you go to five, all it does is change situations," Sutter said. "Places on the ice where you maybe have someone on a power play or a penalty kill, faceoff or a matchup, that sort of thing. And then obviously the partner relationship — Robyn and Slava (Voynov) played together a lot, Robyn and Drew have played together a lot, and Robyn’s an important part of the penalty kill."

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Doughty’s role can’t possibly get any greater. Alec Martinez, another scoring-threat defenseman, will likely play an increased role. His kick save on Corey Perry in overtime was possibly the most important defensive play of the game.

"It’s got to be a collaborative effort," Martinez said. "I think everyone needs to elevate their game.This is playoff hockey, you have to do that anyway if you want to win."

Including Schultz, the Kings have now added four defensemen to their roster with highly-touted prospect Brayden McNabb joining the club Sunday.

Schultz, a former Capital who played for Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, has valuable playoff experience. He was with the Kings this season from December to February but did not see game action.

"I had a little chat with (Sutter) this morning and he said, ‘Just go out there and play,’" Schultz said. "It’s hard to replace a guy like Robyn. But I feel like I’m capable of doing a similar job of what he can do."