On a busy night in the NHL which saw the goalie tandem of Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky give up a combined nine goals, Evgeni Nabokov get yanked ahead of a shootout, Evgeni Malkin razzling and dazzling in said shootout, and Nikolai Khabibulin helping his team beat the undefeated Washington Capitals one man stood above the rest.
That man (or man-child) of course is Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov. Playing in just his fifth career NHL game in light of a Drew Doughty’s injury, the 21-year-old Chelyabinsk native had quite the night not only scoring his first NHL goal but also notching the game-winner with his second. Prior to finding the net he would earn the primary assist on Justin Williams’ goal as well.
In six games, Voynov leads all Russian blueliners with goals scored. However it could be the last time for the foreseeable future he will skate with the big club as Doughty is rumored to return tomorrow night ahead of the team’s trip to Phoenix. Voynov impressed throughout the pre-season as he was one of the last players to be sent down to Manchester but not before earning the praise of teammates as being NHL ready.
It should not come as a surprise to King fans who saw him battle for spot with the big club as his last name Voynov is derived from the Russian word for war (Voyna or Война.)
He clearly showed he belonged last night leading the way for the team as they handed Dallas their first home loss of the year. Will someone else be moved down to allow him to stay up with the return of Doughty? Doubtful. While you never root for any player to get hurt (especially on your own team) the Kings have quite the guy on the blue-line should one of their defensemen go down. Here’s hoping this isn’t the last time we see Slava this year.
Both of his goals can be found below courtesy (as always) of the NHL and NHL.com