EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The personnel of the Los Angeles Kings’ defense hasn’t changed much this season, but there will be one wrinkle Thursday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Seldom-used Davis Drewiske will get the call in place of Alec Martinez in the third defensemen pairing.
Drewiske has only played in seven games this season and not since Dec.19, but coach Darryl Sutter said it was time to change it up.
Martinez has been in that spot the past five games with Slava Voynov re-assigned to the AHL, and Sutter hasn’t been pleased with what he’s seen.
“[Martinez] and [Drewiske] are those guys that fight for those spots, and it’s about competing for ice time,” Sutter said. “[Martinez] can certainly play better than he has in the last two or three games, so it’s Davis’ turn.”
Drewiske has made the most of his limited time with two goals and an even plus-minus rating in seven games.
Second line gets another look: Thursday will mark the third time rookies Dwight King and Jordan Nolan flanked Mike Richards on the second line.
King and Nolan were recalled from the AHL last weekend and both got their first NHL goals Sunday against Dallas.
The 6-foot-3, 234-pound King and plays a power forward role while the 6-3, 227-pound Nolan is more of an enforcer type.
“You play with two people that are 6-3, it obviously creates a lot of room on the ice,” Richards said. “They’re big, strong, hard-working guys. I think when you get called up, your first couple of games with the team, you obviously play with a little (fire).
“We’re getting more and more comfortable with each other, and hopefully we can keep having success.”
Sutter hasn’t thrown a ton of praise on the youngsters and made it clear about their situation.
“I just don’t want them to tail off,” Sutter said. “If they have one practice where they tail off … You know what? They’re nothing special. They’re kids who are trying to learn how to play the game. We’re in a position, because of injuries and not scoring enough goals, to give them a chance. They better take full advantage of it.”
Stoll closer, Penner out: Thursday could be the last game for King and Nolan with Jarret Stoll eligible to come off injured reserve on Saturday.
Stoll has been progressing from a hip injury, but Sutter stopped short of saying he could be ready this weekend.
Dustin Penner is expected to be a healthy scratch for a third straight game.
Asked Tuesday about the message to Penner , Sutter said, “Work your (butt) off. Then you get a chance to play again. If you don’t, you don’t.”
Richards on NHL 36: Richards is being followed by a camera crew for the latest edition of “NHL 36,” a day-in-the-life segment in which a player if profiled for 36 hours.
“It’s a little bit different,” Richards said. “I thought the room was little quieter (Tuesday) morning. Not too many people were talking. …everybody was trying to stay away from me.”
The episode will air Feb. 22 before the Kings-Avalanche game on NBCSN.
Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night:
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Gilbert Brule
Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Chris Summers - Michal Rozsival
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dwight King - Mike Richards - Jordan Nolan
Kyle Clifford - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser - Kevin Westgarth
Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Willie Mitchell - Jack Johnson
Matt Greene - Davis Drewiske