Anze Kopitar suffers upper-body injury
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar left Thursday's 5-4 shootout loss in the third period with an upper-body injury after he was checked head-first into the boards by Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow and did not return.
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Kopitar barely moved as he lay on the ice for several minutes. Meanwhile, teammate Mike Richards instigated a fight with Morrow, costing the Kings a four-minute power play. The Stars scored on the ensuing man advantage to tie the score, 4-4, and send the game to overtime. Dallas beat L.A. in a shootout as Loui Eriksson scored the only goal.
After the game, Kings coach Darryl Sutter downplayed the injury, saying Kopitar just had a bloody nose.
"He'll probably be fine," Sutter said.
The Kings are scheduled to fly to Calgary on Friday afternoon and play the Flames on Saturday night. Sutter said he did not know Kopitar's status for the game.
"It's a half hour after the game. I'm not the doctor and I'm not Kopi," Sutter said. "He told me he was fine, so that's what that means."
Sutter said he didn't have a problem with the hit by Morrow, though he didn't have a good view.
"To me, it was more shoulder to shoulder, but I just got the view from on the bench," he said.
Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan agreed.
"We watched it in slow motion there and we watched it again. In my mind it was a clean hit but he fell very awkward," he said. "I don't think anything will come of it but that's for the league to decide."
Kopitar, a two-time All-Star, scored his 13th goal of the season earlier in the game, equaling Richards for the team lead, and assisted on two others. The Kings twice rallied from two-goal deficits to take a 4-3 lead on consecutive power-play goals early in the third period.
Kopitar missed the final seven games of last year's regular season and the playoffs after sustaining an ankle injury against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
The Kings, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, scored three goals or more in regulation in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Dan Arritt covers the Kings for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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