Ryan Smyth could miss "up to a month" with upper-body injury; Frolov to replace him on top line
Bad news on the injury front for the Kings: top line left wing Ryan Smyth is expected to be out "up to a month" because of an upper-body injury, Coach Terry Murray said after Wednesday's game-day skate.
Smyth was injured during the second period of the Kings' 4-3 shootout victory over Florida on Monday and didn't play in the third period. He was examined when the team returned, and Murray said the verdict was that the rugged left wing will be out about four weeks.
Alexander Frolov will replace Smyth against the Flyers tonight, alongside Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Defenseman Rob Scuderi will miss his second straight game because of a lower-body injury, but Murray said Scuderi is progressing and his status is day to day.
Not so for Smyth, who ranked 12th in the NHL scoring race through Tuesday's games with nine goals and 23 points. Even more important, he has energized Kopitar, who leads the NHL with 32 points. Smyth's presence around the net has drawn Kopitar to the net, and that will be missed.
"It's very unfortunate that you lose a player that's an important player for your team that's going to be out up to that length of time," Murray said. "But you know what? You take a look around the league, there's all kinds of injuries to top players and you've got to deal with it. It's part of the game. It's an opportunity for Fro right now.... Take advantage of it and hope he plays very well there.
"We've seen his play in the past with Kopitar and they've had good chemistry together so hopefully they'll come together right away."
Williams said he played with Frolov and Kopitar at the end of last season and didn't anticipate a major adjustment.
"Kind of a similar player to Smitty," Williams said. "Works hard in the corners...We have enough depth on this team that it shouldn't be a problem scoring goals. I know Frolov and myself are looking to put more pucks in the net and hopefully maybe we can spark something right away here and get something jumping as far as goals and getting some secondary scoring.
"This is the name of the game. You get injuries, you fill in. This is where other guys fill the void. We need to fill the void of Ryan's 20-some-odd points and keep charging ahead and try and catch San Jose."
The lines will be: Frolov-Kopitar-Williams; Scott Parse-Jarret Stoll-Dustin Brown; Teddy Purcell-Michal Handzus-Wayne Simmonds; and Raitis Ivanans-Brad Richardson-Peter Harrold.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports