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Back on ice, Kings’ Marian Gaborik now wants to get his game back

Kings forward Marian Gaborik plays against the San Jose Sharks in last season's playoff series win.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Marian Gaborik didn’t pretend that his 13 minutes, 49 seconds of ice time in his first game with the Kings in three weeks was painless, especially considering he fast-forwarded the injury-recovery process and unexpectedly returned to the lineup Sunday at Carolina.

“It was a battle,” he said Monday. “Gotta get my hands and feet working together, get on the same page.

“I feel OK, obviously not where I want to be hockey-wise, but just got to get there as soon as I can. … Obviously, the worst situation you can be in — to be hurt and not play. It’s just a frustrating time. So it’s good to be back.”

Gaborik knows about the recovery process better than most, considering his injury history. This most recent upper-body injury was a recurrence of a training camp issue for the gifted goal scorer.

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“All times are different but hopefully I can get things together as soon as I can, to try to get on top of my game as soon as I can,” he said.

For Gaborik, it was a game-time decision on Sunday, a byproduct of discussions with Kings Coach Darryl Sutter. There was a chance the Kings would skip practice Monday in Dallas — and they did — and Gaborik was concerned about losing more days, so he “jumped in.”

Said Sutter: “I’d like to have gotten him some contact. But we weren’t practicing. So he’s gotta get his contact during the games. Medically cleared and the player feels comfortable with it and away you go.”

Winless on the road this season, the Kings started this five-game trip with an overtime loss and then three more in regulation. Sutter was expansive on several fronts about his struggling team, which concludes this journey Tuesday in Dallas.

“We’ve got 14 guys with zero or one goal,” he said. “Do the math.”

Left wing Tanner Pearson — who was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for October — leads the Kings with seven goals, and linemates Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter have scored six and five, respectively. No other player has scored more than two.

Sutter noted that Pearson has had a “tough time” on the trip. He is pointless in the last four games and so is Carter. Pearson, Carter and Toffoli were getting more attention from the opposition when Anze Kopitar and Gaborik were out of the lineup.

“It just tells you that you need the balance in the lineup. That line is not going to carry us,” Sutter said.

He praised Toffoli, who leads the Kings in scoring with 14 points. Three of his six goals have come short-handed.

“Tyler’s probably been our best player. ... He’s learned from his experience already,” Sutter said. “He’s taken his minimal games played, minimal minutes played in crucial situations in playoffs and used it to take the next step.”

There are other, deeper areas of concern.

“We have proven guys that aren’t producing,” Sutter said. “It’s not like they’ve lost it. It’s not like they are over the hill or anything like that. They are proven guys that need to produce at both ends of the ice. It’s not strictly offensive numbers.

"…It’s still a little bit of guys grasping on to, coming off winning, I believe. I think they have to get that sense of urgency a little bit in their games still.”

Sutter noted that the Kings have had “a lot thrown at us.” The indefinite suspension by the NHL of Slava Voynov has forced a shifting of roles among the remaining defensemen. Voynov was arrested last month on suspicion of domestic violence.

Redondo Beach Lt. Joe Hoffman said he expected an update on Voynov’s status by midweek. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office requested additional follow-up from police after reviewing the case on Oct. 22. Voynov has been skating in the mornings at the team’s El Segundo training complex, according to the Kings.

TUESDAY

AT DALLAS

When: 5:30 PST.

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

Etc.: The Stars have been struggling on the power play, going 0 for 10 in their last two games. Forward Ales Hemsky, injured Saturday in the second period against Minnesota, practiced Monday.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa


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