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Kings' Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin could both start in tonight's playoff game against Golden Knights

Kings' Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin could both start in tonight's playoff game against Golden Knights
The Kings' Drew Doughty, left, and Jake Muzzin both participated in today's morning skate and both appear ready for Game 3 of their playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Kings' defense could get fortified twofold for Game 3 of their first-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Jake Muzzin participated in the morning skate Sunday, partnered with Drew Doughty, and appears ready to return from an upper-body injury that has kept him out the last seven games. Kings coach John Stevens said Muzzin is a game-time decision but Muzzin sounded ready to help the Kings dig in to an 0-2 series deficit in the first game at Staples Center.

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"It's been a long time," Muzzin said. "I'm excited. It's tough to watch. I'm excited to get back in and try and help the guys win."

Doughty's return is certain after he served a one-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head. His partnership with Muzzin was one of the Kings' most effective earlier this season. Doughty was naturally anxious to go back in following his first missed game since 2014.

"It was brutal, just brutal," Doughty said. "It was just brutal because I should have been out there and I should have never have got suspended, so that's why it sucked. It's over with."

Rookie defenseman Oscar Fantenberg appears to have nailed down the No. 6 defensemen spot because he was paired with Alec Martinez in line rushes. Fantenberg, who played in one regular season game in the second half of the season, played more than 41 minutes in Game 2.

"It's fun," he said. "It's tough but you find a way to do it."

Fantenberg's family has been watching Kings games in Sweden, where they start early in the morning. The double overtime Game 2 made it a longer day.

"Tough morning for them," Fantenberg said.

Stevens appeared to make some changes with the forward lines. He reunited the line of Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli, which has been used sparingly this season.

"I think we're familiar enough with each other, that we should work well," Pearson said. "We've created a lot in the past and it's a pretty fast line and hopefully we can generate stuff tonight."

Alex Iafallo was back on the top line. He was scratched in Game 2.

Twitter: @curtiszupke

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