ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Anaheim Ducks will be without defenseman Cam Fowler for at least one game, but the good news was that it might not be a long-term injury.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Monday morning that he didn't get the feeling that Fowler would be out for an extended time after he was driven into the boards from behind by Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll on Saturday night. Fowler left the game with an apparent head injury and did not return.
"There's no sense of that right now," Boudreau said. "We'll see as time goes on as this week prolongs. I know just today that he's not playing today [against the San Jose Sharks]."
Going into Saturday, Fowler led Anaheim with 22:28 minutes of average ice time. His spot will be filled by rookie Sami Vatanen, who made his NHL debut last Friday. Listed at 5-foot-10, Vatanen made a name for himself in the Finnish league as an undersized, risk-reward defenseman, and he was close to a point-per-game player with Norfolk of the American Hockey League this season.
Boudreau said he's OK with the risk factor. He also said that, "I don't anticipate Cam being out for very long," and indicated he wants Vatanen to keep it simple.
"To me, he just wants to play the game that he played last time and nothing more," Boudreau said. "I'm not going to sit there and send pictures of [Patrick] Marleau and [Joe] Thornton to his house all afternoon saying, 'Be prepared for these guys.' He's just got to do what he does best, and we'll do the rest."
Vatanen was put on the first power play unit in his debut and looked comfortable. Part of that poise was honed overseas, where he carried his team from the blue line.
"Of course it helps playing with the big guys there the last three years," Vatanen said. "It helps me get ready for this league. If you come in the juniors to here, it's a little bigger jump than from the pro league there. I think I was ready to come here."
Veteran defenseman Toni Lydman likes the fellow Finn.
"He's got some natural talent and vision for this game that, you know, not many young kids have," Lydman said. "You have to realize he's played in the Finnish league for a while now and has been the best defenseman there the past two years. It shows – he's not out of junior. I think he looked better than most kids that age."
Boyle expected to play: Dan Boyle did not participate in the morning skate, but coach Todd McLellan said it was a precautionary measure. Boyle missed the Jan. 29 game against Anaheim with flu.
"[He's] still fighting the cold and flu bug and that type of stuff, so he doesn't need to be skating in pre-game skates in the morning, and [I] anticipate him playing," McLellan said.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
James Sheppard – Logan Couture – Ryane Clowe
Tommy Wingels - Michal Handzus – Martin Havlat
Andrew Desjardins – Scott Gomez – Adam Burish
Brad Stuart – Dan Boyle
Jason Demers – Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Douglas Murray – Justin Braun
Injured: Brent Burns
Scratched: T.J. Galiardi, Matt Irwin
Greiss is expected to make his second start of the season in the first of a back-to-back situation. San Jose can use Niemi against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
Daniel Winnik – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey – Bobby Ryan – Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano – Saku Koivu – Kyle Palmieri
Emerson Etem – Nick Bonino – Brad Staubitz
Sheldon Souray – Francois Beauchemin
Bryan Allen – Toni Lydman
Luca Sbisa – Sami Vatanen
Injured: Hampus Lindholm
Scratched: Rickard Rakell, Devante Smith-Pelly
Fasth was first off the ice and the move makes sense given he is the hotter goalie at 2-0 with a 1.44 goals-against average. Hiller has allowed at least four goals in three of his past four starts.
Boudreau has liked Bobby Ryan at center the past two games and indicated he will stick with it. Boudreau did shake up his lines in practice, though, notably with Winnik on the top line.
It appears that Brad Staubitz will draw in on the fourth line and make his second appearance this season.