Kings-Sharks Preview: Voynov Rising
Since we last met the San Jose Sharks...
IN: Ben Ferriero was recalled from the AHL to fill in on the top line.
OUT: Martin Havlat (hamstring), Douglas Murray (wrist), Jim Vandermeer (hand).
The Kings' lineup is expected to remain the same, although the current theory is that Jonathan Bernier is slated to be in goal. Sutter probably didn't shanghai him back into the bench to compliment his hair. (Glossy.)
Game outlook: The Sharks are feeling confident, fresh off a trouncing of the hapless Tampa Bay Lightning. They lost Havlat to a freak injury but their scoring hasn't missed a beat, since Havlat didn't score much anyway. Tonight will likely pose a greater test than Anaheim.
What's the Sutter Era been like so far? Let's look at the defensive matchups. [H2H]
Drew Doughty and Rob Scuderi (along with Richards and Stoll) saw the most time against Perry and Getzlaf, as usual. Doughty played a team-high 25:42.
Slava Voynov and Willie Mitchell faced the top two lines, but Selanne and Ryan's line most frequently. Voynov played 17:09 at even strength versus Johnson's 15:56.
Jack Johnson and Matt Greene had third pairing competition for most of the game, but Perry's line was unfortunately able to exploit a shift against them in the third.
What to conclude from this? Johnson still has higher ice time than Voynov overall due to special teams (3:47 PP, 1:53 SH), but Voynov took over JJ's role at even strength -- and that's not the first time it's happened this year. It was Voynov who took over Doughty's even strength minutes when Drew was out. Though Voynov hasn't been given penalty-killing duties, I take that as a strong vote of confidence in this young defenseman's abilities. Quite a way to bounce back from his healthy scratch after Boston.
I like our top four. The only problem is that Johnson and Greene need to pick up their game.