Kings trip offers challenge for Pearson, Carter and Toffoli

Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli will be reunited with Jeff Carter -- perhaps, briefly -- on Kings' road trip

Road Lessons 101.

It’s unclear how long “That '70s Line” of Tanner Pearson-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli will be reunited on this trip. But with Marian Gaborik expected to return to the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres, the kids and Carter will be grouped together … at least for a few minutes.

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter made a reference to the last five-game trip the team took, the one starting in Philadelphia in late October. And the kids, Toffoli and Pearson, had a tough time of it.

“It’s a good challenge for them,” Sutter said after Tuesday’s morning skate in Buffalo. “The last time we went on a long road trip they lasted three shifts and they haven’t played together since. It’s about performance and production, it's not about what numbers they wear or how sexy it looks.

“It’s about getting the job done. The most important thing in this league is at the end of the night is getting one or two points.”

It looks as though goalie Jonathan Quick will start Tuesday night against Buffalo. With Gaborik back in, the still-recovering Kyle Clifford will be the odd man out. Clifford was sick a couple of days with flulike symptoms and missed practice Sunday.

He skated Tuesday morning and is regaining his energy. To rush him back too soon could set Clifford back.

“It wasn’t the mumps,” Clifford said. “It was a high fever, almost 103. I couldn’t sleep for a couple of days. Getting better now.”

The other fascinating story line features Kings forward Jordan Nolan playing against the Sabres, who are coached by his father, Ted. Buffalo played in Los Angeles earlier this season and it was one of Jordan’s better performances.

“He’s very fortunate to be back here and he never gave up on his dream,” Jordan Nolan said of his father.

“He’s a dad first and he always wants to see me do well. But they’re trying to win hockey games. They’re playing really well right now so it should be a good hockey game.”

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