Defenseman Matt Irwin, a healthy scratch for nine of the San Jose Sharks’ last 10 games, will be in uniform tonight at the SAP Center when the Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Irwin will be with his usual partner on the blue line, Dan Boyle.
“I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back out there, obviously, and help the team,” Irwin said. “Now that I’ve got my opportunity, I’ve got to seize the moment and keep it simply and play my game.”
Irwin has three assists in 14 games for San Jose this season. Coach Todd McLellan said it was just “time to get him playing again. He shoots the puck a lot, he gives out power play a little bit of pop and we’ll give him that opportunity.”
Irwin said what he needs to do is simple: Trust his instincts and stop thinking so much.
“I think the big thing is just making the easy first play,” Irwin said. “The first play is usually the best play. When I get into trouble I hold onto the puck too much and try to maybe force things to see what maybe the second or third option might be.”
Irwin is in his second NHL season. He had six goals and six assists in 38 games last season and had a goal and a helper in 11 playoff outings. He signed with the Sharks as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
This will be the first time Irwin and Boyle have played together since Nov. 10 at Winnipeg.
“Matty’s a great player,” Boyle said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him tonight. The one game we played together, I had just come back in the lineup and it probably wasn’t the best outing for both of us.”
Jason Demers will likely be a healthy scratch tonight.
Also expected to play tonight, after sitting out as a healthy scratch against New Jersey, is forward Andrew Desjardins. He was working on a line with James Sheppard and Mike Brown. Assuming Desjardins is in the lineup tonight, John McCarthy and Matt Pelech—just recalled from Worcester when Matt Nieto was sent down—would be healthy scratches.