EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings, one point shy of clinching a playoff spot, will not have high scoring forward Jeff Carter when they play the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, coach Darryl Sutter said.
Carter, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade-deadline deal in late February, has missed the past three games with a deep bone bruise in his ankle.
Tests performed Monday revealed no structural damage, and Carter is healing well, Sutter said Wednesday. But he wants Carter to skate through a full practice before putting him back in the lineup.
The Kings play their final regular-season game on Saturday night in San Jose.
They can clinch a playoff spot Thursday with a win, an overtime or shootout loss, or if the Dallas Stars lose to the Nashville Predators, a game that should be wrapping up shortly before the puck drops at Staples Center.
The Kings remain in a tight four-team race for the Pacific Division title, something they haven't won in 21 years.
Carter, who averaged 36 goals in his four previous seasons, all with the Philadelphia Flyers, has six goals and three assists in 16 games with the Kings. The team is 11-5-0 with him in the lineup, 2-0-1 without.
Kings rookie defenseman Slava Voynov, who scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 victory on Monday night against the visiting Edmonton Oilers, missed Wednesday's practice because he was "banged up," Sutter said.
Voynov is expected to play Thursday against the Sharks.
"A little break in the action for him," Sutter said. "Give him an extra day."