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Kings' depleted defense group could take another hit if Tom Gilbert is suspended

Kings' depleted defense group could take another hit if Tom Gilbert is suspended
Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert will have a hearing Thursday with NHL officials. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

At a time when they are already down one defenseman, the Kings could potentially lose another from their top six, depending upon the results of an NHL disciplinary hearing.

Tom Gilbert is under scrutiny for a hit he put on Ducks forward Nick Ritchie in the second period of Anaheim’s 4-0 victory Tuesday night at Staples Center. No penalty was called.

Gilbert will have a telephone hearing with the league Thursday. If punished, he could be fined or suspended.

Ritchie did not return to the game and underwent the protocol for suspected head injuries.

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"They take the precautionary steps that are necessary and it's basically up to what the player tells the doctors here [in] the next 10, 12, 24 hours, whatever time it takes," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said Wednesday.

For the Kings, the possible loss of Gilbert would further affect a  defense corps depleted by an injury to Brayden McNabb. Though the season has been dominated by Kings  injury concerns at goal and defense, the team has been unable to score in the last week, getting shut out in three consecutive games to match a franchise mark set in 1968-69.

After the loss to the Ducks, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter made the point that no one from the minor league affiliate in Ontario would be riding in on a white horse to save the day.

"Because it's true. You have to be realistic: not just me, you, the players, everybody," Sutter said Wednesday. "It's not the same team. We're in the middle of the pack and we're going to have to fight like hell.

"As I said, to stay in it until we get guys back, one at a time. We're not going to win every game, not going to lose every game. And you're going to go through stretches where you don't score."

Said Kings winger Dustin Brown: “We’ve had this happen. Maybe not to this extent: lack of scoring here. As players, we’re all well aware of it. The last thing we want to do is cheat for goals. We play a certain way and we’ve got to find ways to score goals, that’s the bottom line.

"You can't sacrifice the rest of our game to find goals."

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Update: The Penguins on Wednesday traded goalie Mike Condon to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round draft choice in 2017.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.

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