The Carolina Hurricanes embark Sunday evening on a three-game west coast road trip, beginning with a matchup against the basement dwellers of the NHL, the Los Angeles Kings, while also featuring their home threads for the entire road trip.
The big story entering play on Sunday is the apparent return to health for the Canes D-core, as Brett Pesce and Haydn Fleury have been removed from IR and are available on Sunday night. As such, Jake Bean was sent back to Charlotte after his brief two-game cameo. Elsewhere, Micheal Ferland remains absent due to his concussion, and Clark Bishop is expected to remain in the lineup in his place.
There were no available projected lines, but it is anticipated that the Canes will align as below:
Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Teuvo Teravainen
Brock McGinn - Victor Rask - Justin Williams
Andrei Svechnikov - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Warren Foegele - Clark Bishop - Phil Di Giuseppe
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk
Brett Pesce - Trevor van Riemsdyk
The Kings enter Sunday having lost two games in a row and owning an NHL-worst 19 points through 26 games. Despite the return of netminder Jonathan Quick, who was out injured for over a month, the Kings saw yet another injury come along that will sideline an important player for an extended period as Ilya Kovalchuk will be out for a month after undergoing ankle surgery.
Entering action with the lowest goal total in the NHL, losing one of their top three scorers in terms of points will not help, but the Kings must now hope that the return of their star goalie will help lift them from the cellar in what is the weakest of the four NHL divisions.
The Kings projected lineup is below:
Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli
Austin Wagner - Adrian Kempe - Matt Luff
Nate Thompson - Michael Amadio - Sheldon Rempal
Derek Forbert - Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez
Dion Phaneuf - Oscar Fantenberg