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Kings center Trevor Lewis due prominent role with Anze Kopitar out

Trevor Lewis, a rookie, had been playing a defensive role in the Kings' fourth line until leading scorer Kopitar tore ligaments in his ankle that will require surgery. Now Lewis will be looking to 'chip in a little bit more, offensively' in the final seven games of the regular season.

March 28, 2011|By Helene Elliott
  • The Kings' Trevor Lewis tries to keep the puck from Philadelphia's Claude Giroux during a game earlier this season in Philadelphia.
The Kings' Trevor Lewis tries to keep the puck from Philadelphia's… (Matt Slocum / Associated…)

Reporting from Edmonton, Canada

Trevor Lewis knows he can't replace leading scorer Anze Kopitar, and he's not going to try.

Lewis was efficiently playing a defensive role as the Kings' fourth-line center until Kopitar tore ligaments in his right ankle on Saturday. Without Kopitar, who will undergo surgery Wednesday and is out indefinitely, Lewis will get a prominent role as the Kings try to maintain a playoff position over the final seven games of the regular season.

Lewis practiced Monday between Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown, the combination that finished Saturday's 4-1 victory over Colorado with five points. Coach Terry Murray said he would leave the rookie there for now, and the 24-year-old Salt Lake City native is ready for his big moment.

"I think I've just got to pretty much stick with what I'm doing and hopefully chip in a little bit more, offensively," Lewis said before the Kings left for their charter flight to Tuesday's game in Edmonton.

"Those are two pretty skilled guys with me, so I've just got to keep doing what I've been doing — hard work and be responsible defensively but then look to get open for them and get them the puck."

Lewis has three goals, 10 points and a minus-10 defensive rating in 65 games this season. He was in and out of the lineup the first month of the season but won the fourth-line job in early November.

He provides speed — a quality in short supply among the Kings' forwards — and energy.

"At the start of the season I just wanted to show that I belong here, and I think I've been pretty consistent throughout the year," he said.

Smyth said Lewis' assets go beyond his speed.

"He gets in on the forecheck very well. He reads the play very well. He's good in his own zone and he competes hard," Smyth said. "Hopefully this could be a good thing for him."

Hello again

Left wing Dustin Penner, acquired by the Kings from Edmonton on Feb. 28, said he was excited about his first visit to his former home but hasn't yet put his Oilers career in perspective.

"I haven't had time to power down like you do in the off-season and just kind of think about the season before," he said. "I think as the summer wears on and even the years I'll be fully able to understand exactly what it meant to me and how it helped me. I know it was a great experience for me and I enjoyed every minute of it."

Line changes

Murray said the lines in practice Monday will be the lines Tuesday. They were Penner-Michal Handzus-Oscar Moller; Smyth-Lewis-Brown; Alexei Ponikarovsky-Jarret Stoll-Wayne Simmonds, and Kyle Clifford-Brad Richardson-Kevin Westgarth.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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