There hasn't been a more cathartic moment in recent King's history than Jarrett Stoll's OT winner on Sunday. It was the culmination of a long, turbulent season that included an in-season coaching change, a blockbuster trade and historic levels of goal scoring ineptitude (not to mention two straight heartbreaking 1st round exits in a row).
It was almost too fitting then that the Kings were spurred on to victory in Game 5 by the very thing that had haunted them all season. Secondary scoring.
We wrote before Game 5 that if the Kings won the series it was going to be because of their bottom 6. We know they scored the goals, but (with an eye toward St. Louis) let's see how they did possession wise.
Here are the charts:
- First, you will see a new addition to this roundup. It's the Line Matching Heat Map. It's pretty self explanatory. You can see how the Kings matched up against given opponents. The numbers represent the percentage of ice time each player/ line played against a given opponent. Green equals more time, red equals less time.
- Before Game 5 we wondered what would become of the Stoll line. They fared very well against the Sedins in Game 4 (despite what the mainstream media said, the Sedins were dominant on the power play but were not very effective at even strength). Would Vigneault try to hard match them again in Game 5 despite that result or would we see something else?
- As you can see by the heat map above, we saw something else. Vigneault was not as concerned with hard matching the Sedins against anybody as he was getting them in as many offensive zone faceoffs as he could. As a result they saw a lot of time versus Kopitar and Richards.
- Stoll instead drew ample time versus Ryan Kesler and performed very well. It should be noted that King was shifted down to the Stoll line as an in-game adjustment. King (who ended the game with an incredible +21 Corsi rating) added his bulk to Trevor Lewis' backchecking and Stoll's facoff peskiness, a combination that reaked havok with a 66.7% Corsi %. They also outchanced their opposition 7-2.
- In the preview we said this about the 4th line, "If they can generate more scoring chances and stay out of the box they will make it very hard for the Canucks to win 4 straight." Right off the bat Richardson took a bad roughing penalty which resulted in a goal, but their fortunes turned for the better after that. Not only were they able to drive play at a dominant 77.8%, they were also able to generate ample scoring chances (including Brad Richardson's game tying goal).
- Another point we touched on in our preview was Daniel's impact on the Canucks lineup. One of the big reasons the Canucks struggled in the series was a lack of forward balance. They had come to rely almost exclusively on the top line, while all other lines struggled to match their regular season paces. That changed in Game 4 with the return of Daniel. Would it continue in Game 5?.
- Nope. The Malhotra line was thoroughly outclassed even with the addition/ demotion of Mason Raymond. But even more interesting was the fact that the Sedin line itslf struggled to drive play not to mention being outchanced 5-14. That was an extremely difficult circumstance for the Canucks to overcome and contributed greatly to the King's eventual victory.
Even Strength Line Combinations:
- L1 = Brown-Kopitar-Williams
- L2 = Penner/King-Richards-Carter
- L3 = King/Penner-Stoll-Lewis
- L4 = Richardson-Fraser-Nolan
- D1 = Scuderi-Doughty
- D2 = Mitchell-Voynov
- D3 = Martinez-Greene
- L1 = Sedin-Sedin-Booth
- L2 = Lapierre-Kesler-Burrows
- L3 = Hansen-Pahlsson-Higgins
- L4 = Raymond-Malohtra-Kassian
- D1 = Hamhuis-Bieksa
- D2 = Salo-Edler
- D3 = Tanev-Ballard