Kings defenseman Matt Greene gets the green light

Kings' Matt Greene has been carrying load on defense because of short-handed crew

The Kings' defense has been constantly tested this season by Slava Voynov's suspension and injuries suffered by other players. But Matt Greene, who played a season-high 23 minutes and 16 seconds in the Kings' 3-2 victory over Carolina on Thursday, has been a stabilizing force during this most unstable of seasons.

Coach Darryl Sutter has had to piece his defense together almost daily, but Greene has been a constant physical presence and leader beyond the "A" he wears as an alternate captain.

"I think he's played really well for us," Sutter said Friday. "One thing that's a difference from last year with Greener is he's healthy. He missed a lot of games last year with injury, including the playoffs. And there were times during the regular season that he played hurt.

"Where I see it, it's not in a game but I see in practice, he's more mobile because he's healthier."

Greene said he simply wants to "fill in however I can," but there's more to it than that. He was a frequent healthy scratch last season but played 20 playoff games and signed a four-year, $10-million contract to stay with the Kings last summer.

"I think you have something to prove every time you go out there. You prove you can still play and prove to your teammates that you're a good part of going forward with this team," he said. "I think everybody on this team has something to prove every time they dress for a game and get ready to go because you're part of this team and you want to make sure you're doing everything you can to win games."

He also said the Kings' goal for the three-game trip that starts Saturday in Dallas is "to get points. I think we've been struggling on the road to start the year. We've got to come out and get going," he said. "That's been our strength the last few years. We've got to be a good road team. And we've got to get it going on this trip and get points to keep pace with a lot of guys and keep climbing up in the standings."

KINGS AT DALLAS

When: 5 PST Saturday.

On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 790.

Etc.: Defenseman Alec Martinez was to travel with the Kings, but it's unclear when he will return after undergoing surgery on his left pinkie finger Nov. 14. The Kings earned their lone road victory this season at Dallas on Nov. 4, a 3-1 decision.... The Stars signed center Jason Spezza to a four-year, $30-million contract extension Friday and traded defenseman Brenden Dillon to San Jose for defenseman Jason Demers and a third-round draft pick in 2016.

Twitter: @helenenothelen

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