The latest attempt to pair Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson on defense lasted three games, and now it’s finished. A handful of times over the past couple seasons, Terry Murray has hoped this pairing would last, in 5-on-5 situations, but it has yet to find long-term success. At the start of last night’s game, Doughty paired with Rob Scuderi while Johnson paired with Willie Mitchell, and the Kings will stay with that look tonight, along with Slava Voynov paired with Matt Greene (more on that below).
MURRAY: “It wasn’t working with Jack and Dewey. That’s the bottom line. That’s why we go away from it again. I thought there was a point now, where, they’ve been together in the past and we could bring them back together again. It should work. They were very excited about playing together, when we talked to them. Right now, the maturity level is not where it needs to be in order to get the job done. So we’ll have to wait a little longer. Maybe we’ll eventually get to it again, but that’s the reason we go away from it.’’
The other big change was moving Voynov from the right side to the left. It’s not a stretch to call it a tryout. If Voynov plays well on the left side, there’s a very good chance that he will stay with the Kings, even after Alec Martinez returns from injury. Exactly whose spot Voynov would take remains to be seen, but in his first game on the left, Voynov earned solid reviews.
MURRAY: “To me, it worked out very well, specifically with Voynov making the change over to the left side. His reads, his acceptance of going to the left side, first of all, he showed a lot of maturity in doing it and he handled the play extremely well. He did not get himself in any tough situations because of being over there. He just moved on and played his game, and I was happy to see that. All three pairs played well. They were assertive, they were pretty aggressive, they closed fast and moved the puck out of our D zone at the right time. So we’ll stay with it again.’’