The Kings won’t have their leading scorer for this season’s playoffs, no matter how long they’re involved –assuming they’re involved at all.
Anze Kopitar is out “indefinitely” and will undergo corrective surgery on his high ankle sprain Wednesday, the team said. The best news is that a full recovery is expected.
That probably won’t happen until next season, and the Kings need him now.
They have the luxury of a five-point cushion (and two games in hand) on ninth-place Calgary, and a six-point cushion on 10th-place Dallas (which has played one fewer game).
The Kings also have a tough schedule ahead after playing 15th-place Edmonton tomorrow at Rexall Place. After that, it’s on to Vancouver (1st place in the Western Conference), at home against the Stars (10th), at San Jose (3rd), at home against Phoenix (4th) and a home-and-home series against Anaheim (7th) to finish the season.
They will play all of these games without their two leading scorers — Kopitar and Justin Williams, who is expected to be out until mid-April with a separated shoulder. No players have been summoned from Manchester (where top-six forwards Andrei Loktionov and Marc-Andre Cliche are also nursing injuries) sending a clear message that the help on offense must come from within.
The Kings scored a pair of goals after Kopitar left Saturday’s 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche. If there’s any good news for the short term, it’s that Kopitar’s injury came in the middle of a game against the 14th-place team in the conference, and the 15th-place team is up next.