Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 3/18/12

DALLAS - OCTOBER 14: Defenseman Kevin Klein #8 of the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center on October 14, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Klein, pictured above during a home game against Columbus, returned to the lineup Saturday against Los Angeles

Kevin Klein returned to the lineup Saturday night in the Nashville Predators 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Nashville wraps up their four-game road trip in Anaheim on Sunday.

Klein said it took a while for him to get going. “It was not bad. The first period was a little rough, getting my legs into it. As the game went on I felt a lot better, and I started playing more like myself,” he said.

 

Head Coach Barry Trotz agreed that it took Klein a while before getting back up to speed. “He was ok. He looked a little sluggish in the first period. That’s what happens when you miss a couple of games. I thought he was fine after that.”

Klein was our of the lineup after sustaining an upper-body injury.

Forward Martin Erat says he was happy to see Klein return to action. “It is good to see him back there. He is a big help. He is a big part of this team. It is very nice to have him back,” he said.

Trotz was unsure if Klein was in fact game ready. The decision to play Jack Hillen rather than rookie Ryan Ellis was the result of that uncertainty. “With Klein coming back, we wanted to make sure he was 100 percent healthy. Instead of going with seven defensemen, if he happened to go down, we thought we would go with a little more defense. That was the thought process there. It wasn’t a slight on Ellis,” Trotz said.

Trotz also confirmed that Klein was now, in fact, 100 percent healthy. “He hasn’t had a lot of contact or a lot of practice. Klein is fine. He got bumped around tonight.”

Klein assisted on the Mike Fisher goal late in the third period and had three blocked shots in 16:57 of ice time. The defenseman even sprawled out in front of the net to save a sure goal from an empty net with goaltender Pekka Rinne out of position. However, his strong play was unimpressive to the 27-year old. “We lost. That is the main thing. I’m not really a point guy. It doesn’t matter to me. It is about winning and getting ready down the stretch to contend for a playoff spot and get ready for the playoffs.”

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