With enough problems already, the last-place Kings on Tuesday night had to deal with two more – injuries to defensemen Drew Doughty and Dion Phaneuf.
Doughty did not play after the first period of the Kings’ 4-3 overtime loss at Buffalo, Phaneuf did not play in the third. That means the Kings had to finish the game with just four defensemen. Doughty and Phaneuf sustained upper-body injuries.
After the game, interim coach Willie Desjardins said both were considered day-to-day. Phaneuf has since flown back to Los Angeles for further evaluation, a team spokesman said. Doughty has played in a franchise-record 360 consecutive games.
That’s not to mention defenseman Alec Martinez (upper-body) did not accompany the team on the four-game trip. He was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, and the Kings recalled defenseman Daniel Brickley from Ontario of the AHL.
Brickley, 23, played in one game for the Kings this past season and had an assist. He has been at Ontario this season. He has three goals and two assists, but is a minus-17 in 21 games.
The Kings continue their trip Thursday at 4 p.m. at Columbus (on Fox Sports West).
The Kings led 3-1 after two periods Tuesday, only to be caught and eventually defeated by the Sabres in the extra period. The Kings did get a point, but their record of 11-19-2 (24 points) has them bringing up the rear in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.
The Blue Jackets are 1-4-0 over their past five games, but they are still in second place in the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division with an overall record of 16-12-2 (34 points).
Columbus is led offensively by forward Cam Atkinson. He has 19 goals and 13 assists for 32 points and has had two hat tricks this season – most recently against Calgary on Dec. 4 in a 9-6 loss at Columbus.
The Kings defeated the Blue Jackets 4-1 on Nov. 3 at Staples Center.
This and that
With their three goals Tuesday, the Kings raised their per-game output to 2.19. That’s still lowest in the league, with Anaheim next at 2.44. … Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin ended up playing a whopping 30:35 Tuesday, roughly nine minutes more than his time-on-ice average of 21:39. He had a goal and an assist. … The Kings will complete the trip Saturday at Pittsburgh. There the Kings will get their first look at former teammate Tanner Pearson in a Penguins uniform. Pearson was traded there for fellow forward Carl Hagelin on Nov. 14 and has three goals and two assists in 13 games with Pittsburgh. He had no goals and just one assist in 17 games with the Kings.