User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
LA Kings' Kopitar ready to return

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Anze Kopitar won't allow a puck to the face to keep him out of the Los Angeles Kings' title defense.

Advertisement
Kopitar returned to practice at the Kings' training complex on Friday, and he's ready to play in Game 3 on Saturday night at the Shark Tank after surviving a scary moment in the third period of Game 2 against the San Jose Sharks.

Kopitar missed only a few minutes of the Kings' 4-3 victory Thursday night after a shot by teammate Dustin Brown hit him in the left side of his face above his upper lip.

``I've felt better before, but I guess when you come out of the situation with a couple of stitches, it's not too bad,'' Kopitar said before the Kings' flight to San Jose. ``I wanted to make sure it's nothing serious. As soon as I found out, I wanted to come back. It's really a no-brainer.''

Brown's shot caught Kopitar squarely in the face, and a hush fell over Staples Center as he went down in a heap and finally skated off with a towel on his face. After getting roughly 20 stitches in the dressing room, Kopitar returned later in the period to the strains of the ``Rocky'' theme song.

Los Angeles trailed 3-2 with less than two minutes to play - and while Kopitar would never suggest he inspired one of the most amazing comebacks in Kings history, the Slovenian center was on the ice when the Kings scored the first of two late power-play goals in 22 seconds to steal Game 2 from the Sharks.

``I heard the (crowd) got a little bit louder,'' Kopitar said. ``Just shows how passionate they are. It's nice to know they're always behind us.''

The Kings' leading scorer and top center is sporting a nasty, jagged cut on his face, but it's nothing hockey players haven't seen before.

``There goes the modeling career,'' coach Darryl Sutter deadpanned. ``Best-looking Slovenian athlete. Hockey players are different than other athletes. Get hit in the face, and they get cut, and they get sewed up and they come back out and play. Very seldom in 30-some years seen a player that doesn't do that. Spit your teeth in your hand. It's good, coach.''

This isn't the first time this season Brown has injured Kopitar, either: The captain accidentally hit his linemate in the face with his stick during a home game earlier this season.

Kopitar was the Kings' leading scorer for the sixth consecutive regular season, scoring 42 points in 47 games. The Slovenian center has just one goal and three assists in eight playoff games, only ending a personal 19-game goal drought in Game 4 of the first round against St. Louis.

But the Kings are excelling again in the postseason without eye-popping numbers from Kopitar. The reigning Stanley Cup champions lead San Jose 2-0 in the series despite getting outplayed for long stretches.

Sleeping was another challenge for Kopitar with his swollen, sutured face, but he figured it out.

``I just wanted to make sure I was always on my right side or on my back,'' Kopitar said. ``I didn't want to roll over to the left, but I got a good night's sleep.''

The rest of the Kings' roster also appears to be improving. Forward Kyle Clifford was in practice with the Kings' regulars Friday after missing the past three playoff games with an undisclosed injury.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
News: Grand Salami - December
Coyotes recall C Gaudet
Bruins F Blidh gets first career recall
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NHL Pro Hockey Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NHL Hot Streaks
5-2 +425 L4 Days, 5-2 L7 G-Plays
5-1, +455 L6 NHL Guarantees
3-1, +235 L4 Selections
7-4, +282 Record L11 G-Plays
15-8 +849 L23, 21-11 +1,226 L32
3-1 Last 4 NHL Picks
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2016 NHL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 1212
Bruce Marshall + 173
Don Anthony + 130
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 374
Bruce Marshall + 300
Doc's Sports + 235
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 190
   
   
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 747
Stephen Nover + 592
Kevin Rogers + 290
Yesterday's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 5
   
   
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 410
Gary Bart + 350
ASA + 100
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership