Sutter still tinkering with lineup

Updated: May 18, 2013, 9:57 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

[+] EnlargeTanner Pearson
Fred Kfoury/Icon SMITanner Pearson, the Kings' first-round pick in 2012, could be making his NHL debut in Game 3.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Being up 2-0 in a series isn't good enough for Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter. At least not based on Saturday morning's pregame skate; Sutter shuffled the deck a little.

Rookie Tanner Pearson was skating on the fourth line with Colin Fraser and Brad Richardson, signifying that Pearson could be making his NHL debut Saturday night in Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks.

"We're sort of undecided still if we're playing seven D and 11 forwards," Sutter said after the skate. "If we play 12 forwards, [Pearson] will play."

Certainly the impression in the Kings' room was that 20-year-old Pearson -- the Kings' first-round pick, 30th overall, in the June 2012 draft -- was in.

Pearson had 47 points (19-28) in 64 games with AHL Manchester this season, playing mostly on a line with Kings rookie Tyler Toffoli.

"I was coming up to be a Black Ace, just expecting to stay with them," Pearson said. "Nelly [Nelson Emerson], the development guy, told me the one day that I was going to start practicing. Then, a few injuries happened. I guess anything can happen."

Pearson went undrafted in 2011 when he first became eligible for the NHL draft. But then putting up 91 points (37-54) in 60 games with the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts in 2011-12 caught people's attention and the Kings drafted him in June 2012.

"If you asked me three years ago or said I'd be playing my first NHL game in three years, I would have taken it in a heartbeat, but I probably wouldn't have believed you," Pearson said. "To see it happen so quick, it's very exciting."

Jordan Nolan will be the odd man out. Trevor Lewis gets bumped up to the third-line center spot between Dustin Penner and Toffoli.

It also appears as if Keaton Ellerby will go in for Alec Martinez on defense.

Lots of changes for a team up 2-0 in a playoff series, but clearly Sutter continued to want to tinker with his bottom-six forward group.

"Not satisfied, quite honest with you," Sutter said of his team's performance, which is why he's making changes. "I said it last series, too; our fourth line has been moving all year. There hasn't really been a fourth line."