If there’s one team that could ill afford an injury at this point of the season, it’s the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Unfortunately, however, they’ll have to battle for their playoff lives without the services of Tanner Pearson and Andrej Sekera.
Pearson has been out since Jan. 10 with a fractured left fibula, and the leg injury has kept him on the shelf since then. He did, however, resume skating in March and participated in a full practice on March 22. While there was the slight hope he could find his way back to game action when the Kings needed him most, it appears that won’t be the case and he’ll likely only slot into the lineup should Los Angeles make it to the post-season.
As for Sekera, who was the Kings’ major acquisition at the trade deadline, a lower body injury suffered March 30 against the Chicago Blackhawks will be the end of his regular season and the Kings will have to re-evaluate whether or not he can play if they make the playoffs.
Having been without Pearson for so long, the Kings have likely adjusted to playing without him. Surely, Pearson’s offensive upside is missed – he had 12 goals and 16 points in 42 games – but what’s worse is losing the depth that he offered the team.
With Sekera out of the lineup, Los Angeles will have to turn to Brayden McNabb as his replacement. In 16 games with the Kings since being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes, Sekera has one goal and four points while averaging 19:12 of ice time per game.
The Kings play a must-win game tonight against the Calgary Flames. If Los Angeles loses tonight in regulation and the Winnipeg Jets pick up at least a single point against the Colorado Avalanche, the Kings’ season will officially be over. Last season, the Kings fought back from a 3-0 deficit in the first round of the playoffs against the San Jose Sharks and went on to win three consecutive game sevens en route to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.