Anze Kopitar practices with Los Angeles Kings, who are happy to be home

Anze Kopitar practices with Los Angeles Kings, who are happy to be home
Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) stretches in the third period of a game against the Washington Capitals. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

For the Kings, relief came in several forms.

They were relieved to be finished with their longest trip of the season and reunited with their families. They were pleased that they have only nine road games remaining, two in California.


Another positive came Monday with the on-ice presence at practice of star center and leading scorer Anze Kopitar, his first time on the ice since the first period of Thursday's overtime loss at St. Louis.

Forward Jordan Nolan, who sat out Saturday's game at Nashville because of an undisclosed injury, also practiced and indicated he is improving.

Both are considered day-to-day and probably will be game-day decisions for Tuesday's contest against the Calgary Flames at Staples Center.

Kopitar was asked whether he would have tried to give it a go at Nashville if, say, this were the playoffs.

"I would have definitely tried it, and very likely I would have been in," he said. "But right now, still a little bit of time until April, it was the best for me to take the rest and get back to 100%."

His ailment was described as a lower-body injury and Kopitar said it "tightened up" in Thursday's game, adding that he felt fine beforehand. He believed he didn't have enough strength to be effective on the ice. Oddly, Kopitar said he felt "flat-out terrible" before his recent three-goal performance against the New York Rangers.

So how hard was it for him to watch in Nashville?

"It was awful," he said. "I was definitely more nervous watching than I ever was playing."

It didn't help that he watched the Kings kill penalty after penalty against the Predators. "We're taking way too many penalties," he said.

The Kings went to win, 2-1, on Tanner Pearson's goal 1:18 into overtime, giving them a 3-3-1 record on the trip.

"Saturday it was very awesome to see how the guys battled," Kopitar said. "Obviously I don't want to be in that position too often. The guys know it's a huge game and we actually made the trip halfway decent with the win.

"They dug deep and literally left everything there at the end."




When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. PST

Where: Staples Center

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

Update: The Flames made a trade Monday with the Vancouver Canucks, sending center Markus Granlund to the Canucks and adding winger Hunter Shinkaruk, who was born in Calgary. Shinkaruk will report to the Flames' American Hockey League affiliate in Stockton, Calif., the Calgary Sun reported.

Twitter: @reallisa