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Line Changes Knock Out Johnson

As they came into the locker room Saturday morning, the Kings looked at a white wall, on which the lineup was written in green grease pencil.

Line changes, with Sandy Moger joining Jozef Stumpel and Vladimir Tsyplakov, replacing Josh Green.

Green moved to the fourth line, the only winger with Ray Ferraro and Ian Laperriere, both centers.

Yanic Perreault was back at center with Luc Robitaille and Glen Murray.

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No Matt Johnson. For the third time this season.

“They tell me why, but it doesn’t make any sense,” said Johnson, a plainly disgruntled left winger and enforcer. “They say [Carolina doesn’t] have a banger, but why not exploit what we have? Nobody else in the league does it that way.”

Coach Larry Robinson said the changes were designed to shake up a club that was 1-4-1 in its last six games and 1-4-2 at home.

“We’re just trying to get a little more scoring,” he said.

Said Johnson, who has one goal and one shot all season: “How can you score when you play six minutes a game?”

Or not at all.

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Olli Jokinen’s No. 12 also wasn’t on the wall, and he wasn’t happy about sitting for the first time since he was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Nov. 2.

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“I want to play,” he said. “I don’t want to sit in the press box and eat hot dogs.”

Jokinen, a 19-year-old center, had points in three of four games before Thursday night’s debacle against Nashville and had his first NHL goal on Tuesday night at Calgary.

“It’s only for one game,” said Robinson, who added that he was trying to find something--anything--that would turn the Kings around.

Note: Scratched players sit or stand elsewhere at the Forum, far from the press box; and they don’t serve hot dogs in the press box.

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Defenseman Mark Visheau played in his first regular-season game for the Kings after sitting out the first 16 because of a thumb injury.


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