Flames @ Kings: Grades and Analysis

Dwight King stars in "LA Kings Fans React To Dwight King Practicing On A Line With Kopitar" - Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images

This game should have been more fun, dammit.

The Kings did some things right in this one, but had just enough shortcomings to let a mediocre team pull the upset.

Eric has the recap here.

Forward Lines

  • 1st line (Brown - Kopitar - Williams), Grade: D+. A few games ago, I noted that Sutter gave Kopitar's line significantly easier zone starts than he had been, and that I wasn't sure if it was a one-game fluke or if Sutter was trying to jump-start them. I think we have an answer. Over the past 2 games, Kopitar has seen the top line of the opposing team very infrequently, and that's with Sutter in control of the match-up. Given softer match-ups and slightly softer zone starts, we should expect more than the 3 EV scoring chances this line mustered. On top of that, Kopitar's late penalty is inexcusable. Whether you like the call or not, you can't put your stick in the hands of the opponent. It's too visible and Kopi made it too easy for the refs to make the call. It was a lazy play by a player that rarely makes them.
  • 2nd line (King - Richards - Carter), Grade: C. King (along with Trevor Lewis and Jake Muzzin) went a team worst in scoring chance margins, going -3 at even strength. While no one on the entire team came out behind their opposition in shot attempts, Richards finished at the bottom of the pile by splitting shot attempts with his opponents. It was also a rather quiet game for Carter, who failed to notch a scoring chance and set up just 1. The saving grace for this line is that it held the Monahan line fairly in check while they were matched up.
  • 3rd line (Carcillo - Stoll - Frattin), Grade: A. Like the Richards line, this trio saw a lot of the Monahan line. I'm not sure that's a match-up Sutter will want to go back to over and over again, but it worked out against Calgary. While Frattin and Carcillo were close to even in shot attempts, Jarret Stoll had his best game of the season, going +12/-6. On top of that, they were by far the most productive offensive unit at even strength, producing 5 scoring chances. Now, ALL of those came on two separate shifts, but they were effective throughout most of the latter half of the game. It was just a little bit luck and a lot of Karri Ramo that kept this line from finding twine. To top all of that off, Matt Frattin was on the ice for an additional pair of scoring chances for the Kings. Great night for this line.
  • 4th line (Clifford - Fraser - Lewis), Grade: C-. If it's Trevor Lewis, then I'll quote Jim Fox: nothin' happenin'. Clifford had another pretty great possession night (in spite of his linemates being much closer to average in this area), but that's about it. They came out slightly ahead in possession, but didn't do well compared to the rest of the team. They also ended up a tick behind in chances. That said, they drew a tough match by also seeing a lot of Monahan and did a fair job at keeping him in check. I'm personally miffed at Nolan being scratched instead of Fraser. I'm a fan of a potential Clifford-Lewis-Nolan line, though the latest practice lines don't seem to suggest it as a possibility.

Defensive Pairings

  • 1st pairing (Regehr - Doughty), Grade: A-. Robyn Regehr led the Kings in scoring chance differential at even strength. Robyn Regehr led the Kings in scoring chance differential at even strength. Robyn Regehr led the Kings in scoring chance differential at even strength. He also took a dumb penalty, so just let that first line sink in a bit. Doughty stayed pretty strong. He's been very good since his awful game in Tampa Bay. What's kinda funny about that game is that it started a trend of him joining the cycle and coming down low. He didn't let his mistakes in that game deter him and has continued to act as a 4th forward at times, controlling the puck for lengthy segments in the offensive zone. That's when he is at his best.
  • 2nd pairing (Mitchell - Voynov), Grade: C+. While Regehr and Voynov (like most of the Kings) won the possession battle, they sagged a bit in terms of scoring chances. Mitchell went -2 at evens while Voynov broke even. Certainly not a bad night, just nothing very special. They did get the toughest match-up role on the team.
  • 3rd pairing (Muzzin - Greene), Grade: C-. Still an up and down season for the bottom pairing. Muzzin and Greene did pretty good possession work, even with Sutter adjusting their zone starts to be a little more neutral. That's encouraging. Their defensive zone play was not. Each got out-chanced at evens; Muzzin was out-chanced somewhat badly, going a team-worst -3.

Special Teams

  • Power Play, Grade: B. The power play scored and logged 3 chances in 3 power plays. It was...an alright night. The PP never looked as dangerous as it did at times against Dallas, but it worked. They scored a big goal just a game after Darryl Sutter had asked for it.
  • Penalty Kill, Grade: D-. The only reason it isn't a straight-up F is because of the game-tying shorthanded goal from Mike Richards. I actually really liked the up-ice pressure the Kings applied at times. However, the zone-play was spotty and the Kings ended up getting worked over pretty hard while shorthanded. Calgary scored 3 times and registered a whopping 7 chances on 6 power play opportunities. We also saw entirely too much of the penalty kill. Not a good night in this regard.

Jonathan Quick, Grade: C.

  • Mike Cammalleri's goal should not have happened. While it counted as a scoring chance, it was just not a good goal to give up. It slid along the ice and beat Quick short-side even though he had plenty of time to cover the distance. It almost looked like he just lost his angle and thought he had the post covered, but the shot slipped inside the post. I am not going to blame him for the Flames somehow managing to connect back-to-back backdoor passes to score their second goal. Perhaps he should have deflected the first opass, but the pass originated from an angle that you don't typically expect to have to defend. The second pass ricocheted over him as he sprawled out to try to stop Cammalleri on the doorstep. Unfortunately, the pass/deflection went directly to Monahan and he buried it. I also won't fault him for Dwight King blocking out the sun on the game-winner either. It was a winnable game and the ultimate difference came down to Calgary getting saves from Ramo. Quick had a .786 SV% on scoring chances, though that includes the power play.

Overall Team Grade: C.

  • The Kings gave themselves a pretty reasonable chance to win this one, but Calgary took advantage of their few opportunities while the Kings squandered their many. Calgary got terrific offensive performances out of Sean Monahan and Mike Cammalleri, something I'm sure prompted many fans to bemoan the loss of the sniper given that he's capable of playing LW. Karri Ramo eventually ended up being the difference. A lesser goalie -- like Dan Ellis, the living embodiment of "lesser goalie" -- gifts the Kings a win. LA piled on pressure at various times in the game, but Ramo kept the Flames in it long enough to let them find the crack in LA's armor.

The Numbers

  • The ever-improving Extra Skater has the essential details, and scoring chance tables are below!

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Kingsflames10

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