By all accounts, today’s call-ups, Dwight King and Jordan Nolan, will be in the lineup tomorrow. King will play his seventh NHL game and Nolan will make his NHL debut, and they will play on either side of center Mike Richards, who played his 500th NHL game last night. Darryl Sutter kept the first line (Brown-Kopitar-Williams) and third line (Clifford-Loktionov-Lewis) intact. That leaves five players (Fraser, Hunter, Penner, Richardson and Westgarth) to fill three spots on the fourth line, and it’s not known what direction Sutter might go, because those five players rotated in drills today. Sutter, no doubt, hopes the shake-up will give the Kings some life and some urgency.
SUTTER: “We’ve got to get more scoring out of guys. This isn’t about `wait and see.’ This is about now. You can be patient and teach and give them confidence, but they’ve got to perform too. That’s part of the deal. These kids are big kids that can skate. They’ve had the same knack for offense, historically if you look at it, that is the same as the group here, so why not?
“We’ll just get some big kids who can skate and play with energy, and hopefully have the identity that we’re looking for. … You’re just trying to get everybody to do the same things over and over, and keep it within that framework. So we’re going to take a real good look at these two boys, because we think they’re capable of doing that.’’
Is there a chance, then, that Penner might be out of the lineup tomorrow? It’s tough to say, but Sutter clearly was not pleased with Penner. After a strong game against Tampa Bay, Penner struggled last night in Florida and was benched for more than half of the third period. Here’s what Sutter said about Penner…
SUTTER: “You want to be consistent. If you’re in a playoff race, which we are, you need consistency out of everybody in terms of their performance. Everybody does it a little different, but when you’re playing in basically an offensive role, you’ve got to be fairly consistent in the percentage part of it.’’