Happy New Year -- Post-Game Bullets

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 31: Goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 and Keith Ballard #4 of the Vancouver Canucks defend their net as Andrei Loktionov #48 of the Los Angeles Kings puts a backhand shot on net while teammate Trevor Lewis #22 and Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks skate to the net in the second period during the NHL game at Staples Center on December 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Canucks 4-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
  • Back on 12/19, I broke the rest of the season into blocks of 5-7 games and laid out what the Kings needed from those "blocks" to make it to the playoffs (short version: they basically have to go 4-2 out of every six games). I said they needed to go 4-1-1 (or better) in the six games starting with Toronto (the game before Sutter's official first game).
  • They did better than that, going 4-0-2. Including last night's game, 5-0-2.
  • Regarding the Winnipeg game, Sutter commented that a couple of Andrei Loktionov's passes could easily have resulted in goals.
  • One of them -- the pass from behind the net to Drew Doughty -- yielded a laugh-out-loud comment from Jim Fox, which I can only paraphrase as "Loktionov saw that Doughty was open before Doughty did."
  • Last night, against Vancouver, Loktionov had two crucial assists, and could easily have had a couple more points. On the Greene goal, he generated a scoring chance on the left side, then busted his ass to the right side in order to get the puck to Greene.
  • On the Richardson goal, he did something I've seen him do well over the years: he just laid the puck in the crease, not a tape-to-tape pass, but a pass to where the play was headed. This, he does better than almost everyone.
  • Maybe five seconds before the Greene goal, I said to my kid, "I love this line." The line being Brad Richardson - Loktionov - Trevor Lewis. Several times this season I have wished for Jarret Stoll - Loktionov - Lewis, but this is the same idea. Three centers, all speed, a call-back to the days of Donnelly-Millen, a third line to be feared, which opposing coaches would have to counter somehow...creating more "room" for Kopitar et al.
  • I also think Mike Richards - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown/Williams is a great idea, possibly a stroke of genius. One of Richards' superpowers is that he makes shit happen, just little things, turning nothing into something. Kopitar needs that. Brown needs it, too, since he sometimes demonstrates the opposite skill.
  • Dustin Penner seems much better with Stoll and Justin Williams/Brown; Penner never quite clicks with Kopitar, for some reason, but that line -- P-S-W/B -- has jump.
  • Kings are 10-0 when scoring at least three goals. If you count SO wins, 12-0.
  • Kings' record when Richards scores a point: 12-2-3.
  • Record with Richards in the line-up: 17-8-6.
  • Record with Slava Voynov in the line-up: 13-8-3.
  • Record with Willie Mitchell in the line-up: 18-9-6.
  • Record when Brown scores: 9-0. (13-1-2 when Brown records a point)
  • 12-3-2 when Williams records a point.
  • 12-4 when a defenseman scores.
  • This year's team is one point behind last year's pace.
  • Last year, after 39 games, the Kings had lost four in a row, and would soon make it five, en route to a nearly catastrophic 2-10 run.
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