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Kings dig deep despite injury-depleted defense corps

Alec Martinez suffers an upper body injury in Kings' win against St. Louis, the latest defenseman to go out this season. They try to build on team cohesiveness in spite of absences.

February 12, 2013|By Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times

All you need to know about the battered and decimated Kings' defense corps is that one member still has a pretty nasty-looking right eye.

And Rob Scuderi is one of the healthier ones.

Kings defensemen are dropping at an alarming rate, with Monday in St. Louis another example of the season-long trend. Alec Martinez suffered an upper-body injury early in the 4-1 win against the Blues and did not return, having played a mere 1 minute 35 seconds.

Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said after the game that Martinez would be placed on injured reserve and now that move is expected to occur before the team's next game, which is Friday against visiting Columbus.

Martinez, who had two points in 11 games, is the third member of the defense from the Stanley Cup-winning team to suffer a significant injury. And the Kings are about to hit the quarter mark of the season as Game No. 12 is Friday.

Defenseman Matt Greene was injured in the season opener and required back surgery, and another defenseman, Willie Mitchell, didn't even make it to the start line. Mitchell had knee surgery during the lockout and has suffered a couple of setbacks. His agent said, via email Monday, that Mitchell has resumed skating but is still taking it slow.

The Kings won two of the five games on their trip and were within five seconds of getting at least a point in Detroit on Sunday afternoon.

Not only did they sustain their strong play from the Detroit game but they dug deep when they had to drop down to five defensemen after the Martinez injury.

"I think it was a big boost for our team," Scuderi said. "I don't think it's a shock we haven't been cohesive as a unit, not just D [defense], but forwards and D.

"With Marty going down early — the five of us having to take short shifts and kind of worked together and played with guys you haven't played with before — it showed good chemistry. At least we're all on one page."

Scuderi's ice time of 23:12 against the Blues was third behind Drew Doughty (28:03) and Slava Voynov (26:06).

"I thought Detroit ... was probably our best game of the season, as a team, and we deserved to win and it didn't happen," Scuderi said. "That's OK. I thought we built off it and had a lot of the same good habits."

Twitter: @reallisa

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