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Tverdovsky, Sopel might play tonight

Times Staff Writer

A playoff spot may have moved a little further from the Kings’ reach Tuesday, but full strength seemed within their grasp Wednesday.

Defensemen Brent Sopel and Oleg Tverdovsky were activated from injured reserve and could be in the lineup when the Kings play the San Jose Sharks tonight.

Peter Harrold was reassigned to Manchester, the team’s American Hockey League franchise, to make room on the roster.

“If they are both in there, then we’ll have the defense we had in mind when the season started,” Coach Marc Crawford said. “We’ll have [Lubomir] Visnovsky and [Rob] Blake leading the charge, with Mattias Norstrom and Aaron Miller, Brent and Oleg.”

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Tverdovsky, who sat out 12 games because of a groin injury, said he has been ready for the last week, but “they wanted to be careful because I already had one setback.”

Sopel, who sat out 16 games because of broken bones in his ankle and hand, also said he has been ready to play, but had been taking a cautious approach.

Meanwhile, forward Alyn McCauley practiced, though he wore a don’t-hit-me blue jersey. He has yet to play this season while recovering from two surgeries on his left knee.

“The next step is to get out of the blue jersey,” McCauley said.

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As he does with every aspect of his life, forward Tom Kostopoulos has quietly gone about his business. Only this season, he has made a little noise.

Kostopoulos, who often comments in nods and shrugs, has been an effective role player this season, to the point where he is an occasional contributor on offense. In his last six games, he has a goal and four assists, while averaging only 10 minutes.

“Last year, all I was asked to do was shut down the other line,” said Kostopoulos, who had eight goals and 22 points in 76 games in 2005-06. “I wasn’t asked to forecheck a lot or create offense. Those are things I get to do under the new system.”

Kostopoulos has four goals and 13 points in 26 games.

TONIGHT

at San Jose, 7:30, FSN West

Site -- HP Pavilion.

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Radio -- 1150.

Records -- Kings 11-17-4; Sharks 23-9-0.

Record vs. Sharks -- 1-3.

Update -- Rookie Joe Pavelski has seven goals in his 10-game career, three against the Kings.

chris.foster@latimes.com


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