That Kings defenseman Alec Martinez is suffering from concussion-like symptoms is not a major surprise, especially after looking at replays of the big (and legal) hit on him, handed out by Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t always provide specific injury updates or even general ones. In this case, he did Sunday after practice at Nationwide Arena, saying that Martinez was day to day.
“He’s got concussion-like symptoms that don’t appear to be very severe,” Sutter said of the injury occurring early in the first period Saturday at Tampa, Fla.
“But we have to be careful and cautious.”
Caution would dictate Martinez missing the finale of this five-game trip, at Columbus on Monday night, at the very least. Defenseman Brayden McNabb, who has been a healthy scratch the last two games, is available and there have been no indications of an imminent call-up from the Kings’ minor league affiliate in Manchester, N.H.
The early loss of Martinez meant big minutes for the remaining five defensemen as the Kings held off the Lightning, 4-2, for their first victory on the road since Jan. 1. Robyn Regehr, in fact, played a season-high 29 minutes.
“It wasn’t that long ago Robyn would play 23 [minutes],” Sutter said. “If you asked him when we were in Calgary, in Tampa Bay, he’s gonna tell you he played half the game for those [Stanley Cup] Finals.”
Regehr had two games of 30-plus minutes in the 2004 Final when he was with the Flames. Of course that was a breeze compared with the 43:21 he logged in triple overtime against Vancouver in Game 6 in the first round that year.
For the Kings, Sunday’s practice was an optional one. But Regehr was on the ice, despite the heavy minutes less than 24 hours before in Tampa.
“It’s up to whoever is in the lineup to try to get the job done and do whatever we need to as players,” said Regehr, who had two assists. “For us defenseman, there was a lot of opportunity to be on the ice. I think we did a pretty decent job as defensive corps.
“We were fairly solid. There’s still some things we looked at this morning that we were going to work on. That’s usually the way it is with hockey. You’re constantly making adjustments.”
The major key was that the Kings finally got off to a fast start in a road game, taking a 3-0 lead after the first period.
“Our starts really haven’t been very good,” Regehr said. “You saw that we had a really good start last game and just were solid after that. There were a few lulls and dips in our game but then, most important thing, we managed to come back.
“You refocus, get a few good shifts under you and get back in the groove again. There’s too many times in the previous part of the season where we haven’t been able to recover from that. Whether we’ve given up quick goals or played bad for five or 10 minutes of a game.
“We’re trying to eliminate that as much as possible.”
KINGS VS. COLUMBUS
When: 4 p.m. PST.
Where: Nationwide Arena
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West. Radio: 790.
Etc.: This will be winger Marian Gaborik’s first trip back to Columbus since the Kings acquired him from the Blue Jackets at the trade deadline last season. The Kings hosted Columbus on Oct. 26, but an injured Gaborik was out of action then. Columbus forward Scott Hartnell is set to appear in his 1,000th NHL game. The Blue Jackets have scored 11 goals in their last two games.