Dwight King scored a controversial hat trick on Thursday night, netting 3 empty-net goals against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Eric has the game recap here.
It's really tough to look at the #fancystats when a team goes up big early. They get skewed by score effects and become less reflective of the actual story of the game. Phoenix took an early offensive-zone penalty that let the Kings get the scoring going right off the hop and the game was never normal from that point on. At any rate, we'll see what we can find in the numbers. Kinda.
- 1st line (King - Kopitar - Williams): Grade: 74 Dwight Kings out of 74. Dwight King scored a fucking hat trick. This line saw a mix of a few lines. Dave Tippett tried to work Shane Doan with a few different combos. It didn't work out horribly, I guess, as Kopitar just barely slipped below even in shot attempts in the score-effected game Stil, Kopitar was a force all night and that line drew two penalties, one of which set up Kopitar's first goal of the season. No words can describe Dwight King's performance.
- 2nd line (Frattin - Richards - Carter): A. This line drew a mix of the top two lines for Phoenix and was pretty darn excellent at controlling play. All 3 players went +3 in scoring chances at even strength and had the best possession-performance of the forward lines. Frattin picked up his first goal of the season as well.
- 3rd line (Brown - Stoll - Lewis): C. Nothin' happenin'. Again. Fortunately, not much needed to happen. They came out a little bit behind in shot attempts while facing a mixture of competition with slightly favorable zone starts. That sounds about right in a game that was a blowout at two different points in time. Brown received an assist for his work on Jordan Nolan's goal; however this line generated just 1 scoring chance as a unit.
- 4th line (Carcillo - Fraser - Nolan): D. Ehhhh. They scored a goal. After Dustin Brown sprung him as part of a 2-on-1, Colin Fraser made a nice read by aiming for the far post along the ice in an effort to produce a rebound -- probably the highest percentage play that a player of his skillset can make in that situation -- and Jordan Nolan banged home the rebound. They struggled otherwise. Extra Skater only lists them with 1 defensive zone start, but I noted 2 while at the game last night. They both ended poorly. The first one resulted in an extended possession and power play for Phoenix. The second resulted in Phoenix's first goal of the night (against Phoenix's Bissonnette-led 4th line, no less). Dan Carcillo wasn't on the ice for a single scoring chance for the Kings and the trio had by far the worst possession numbers on the team. Still, they scored a goal.
- 1st pairing (Regehr - Doughty): A-. The top pairing for the Kings saw just about every forward on Phoenix for some amount of extended time. As noted, Sutter tried to mix in some d-zone starts for the 4th line and he used this pairing to try and ease things for them. Obviously it didn't work, but that's about the only downside to the game these two played last night. They did get out-chanced slightly, but that's not horrific given what happened in-game. They won possession comfortably and did it with some of the tougher minutes on the team.
- 2nd pairing (Mitchell - Voynov): C-. In spite of getting out-possessed badly, this pairing went +1 in chances at evens. They didn't see any match-up in particular, but received fairly tough zone starts relative to the rest of the team. We'll chalk up the minus in shot attempts to score effects. Unfortunately, Willie Mitchell also took 2 penalties in the game. Not a perfect game by any stretch, but not outright bad.
- 3rd pairing (Muzzin - Greene): C+. Like Mitchell before him, Muzzin took 2 penalties as well. This pairing did come out ahead in possession and chances, but did it with very easy minutes. Obviously the common thought here would be that Muzzin's penalties would take him out of the lineup, but Sutter has made it pretty difficult to decode his thoughts.
- Power Play: B. The power play scored a goal and looked pretty dangerous early. Although they failed to do much -- and even allowed a scoring chance against -- on a late power play, the game was pretty safely in hand at that point. LA notched 4 scoring chances in their other 4 power play efforts and looked fairly dangerous all night.
- Penalty Kill: A. While they did allow a goal, I found the PK to be pretty spectacular last night. The goal itself was a pretty harmless shot from the point that Martin Hanzal skillfully redirected past Quick. A nice play, but it wasn't the result of bad defense or bad goaltending. Just a nice play by Hanzal. Aside from that, the Kings' PK was dominant. They drew dead even with Phoenix in shots and actually out-chanced Phoenix on Phoenix's own power plays. Mike Richards scored the game winner shorthanded and the Kings escalated the up-ice pressure again. Pretty dominant night, really.
- He wasn't good enough. The Kings won because they turned in an elite offensive performance, but Jon Quick could've cost the Kings the game last night. I will outright say that goals #1 and #3 for Phoenix were not his fault. Goal #2 was just awful, however. Any time a goal is scored from behind the goal line, it's bad news for the goalie and this one isn't an exception. Quick got stuck trying to kick his way into position and seemingly couldn't get his skate to cut into the ice. His attempts ended up looking feeble and the puck bounced off him and in the net. The 4th goal for Phoenix was a little icky as well, although any time there's a redirection (and Ribeiro did APPEAR to tip it, though it's listed as Doan's goal at the moment), it's hard to fault the goalie. However, the puck beat him pretty close to the ice. If it wasn't tipped, it's an awful goal. If it was tipped, well, it's iffy at best, but potentially excusable. At any rate, he wasn't heavily tested and enjoyed very little success in this one. Probably as bad as he's looked to the eye all season.
Overall Team Performance: B+
- A lot will be made of the fact that the Kings blew another lead in this one, but I don't fault them much here. Score effects took over a bit, but even aside from that, the Kings never looked very overwhelmed by the Coyotes' comeback effort. Phoenix is pretty good at generating cheap goals and they did it well last night. They throw up screens and try to redirect pucks and generally create chaos in front of the net in order to make up for a lack of dynamic offensive talent. Sometimes it works out, and there's not a lot you can do to counter it. No, I don't like that the Kings blew a 4-0 lead, but it was a weird game from start to finish. While the Coyotes were punching, the Kings were punching back. Greiss held up for a time and the game got back to even, but the better team ended up on top. If Quick was a little better in this one, we probably wind up feeling pretty great about this game. In the end, it's a solid team performance with some minor failures. Plus, Dwight King scored a hat trick.
- Here's Extra Skater's report. Scoring chance and Corsi tables (all courtesy of Robert) below!