Kings @ Canucks: Grades and Analysis

Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter totally used Anze Kopitar to make themselves look even better. - (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Eight minor penalties!?

Ben Scrivens once again stood on his head (and ass) to help the Kings past the Canucks. Eric has the game recap here.

Forward Lines

  • 1st line (Brown - Kopitar - Williams), D. After a game apart, this line's run of solid play dissipated in a pretty grand way. They weren't hard-matched against any particular line and they got out-shot by every Canuck they faced. Kopitar wasn't bad, but his wingers were only noticeable when they were getting put in the penalty box or running their own heads into the glass. Probably one of the worst games I've ever seen this trio play.

  • 2nd line (King - Richards - Carter), D+. Tortorella primarily decided to roll the Sedins against the Richards line, although it wasn't a hard match. Unfortunately, it was a secondary match-up that ran over Richards and company. Ryan Kesler's line, largely driven by a late flurry, went +8 against Richards in shot attempts. Though the entirety of the scoring chances generated while this line was on the ice came during a 17-second stretch (Scrivens' ass saves and Richards' goal), they were controlled territorially for the majority of the night.

  • 3rd line (Clifford - Vey - Toffoli), A. I totally called this when I saw this line take the ice to start the game, but that's neither here nor there. Sutter used them like a third line and they responded with a dominant possession night. Though he sheltered their zone starts and their competition wasn't fierce, they did see a fair bit of Ryan Kesler's line. Los Angeles controlled about 78% of the shot attempts with this trio on the ice, and they won every single match-up they faced. They were also easily the most productive line on the Kings, generating a goal and 3 scoring chances at evens. I love the mix this line has. Vey has been an excellent play-driver to start his NHL career, Clifford is no slouch and I wanted his role to be increased in my quarter season review, and Toffoli can rely on his linemates to enter the zone. If Toffoli isn't going to be in the top-six, this is a good spot for him.

  • 4th line (Carcillo - Stoll - Nolan), C. Middling zone starts and competition gets middling results. Jordan Nolan got involved in a big way in his return to the lineup by picking up a pair of scoring chances and splitting open Ryan Stanton's ear a few minutes after he and Jarret Stoll leveled Henrik Sedin. While they got out-shot, they managed to create a bit more offense than their opponents.

Defensive Pairings

  • 1st pairing (Muzzin - Doughty), C+. This pairing was the only of the three to see both players tread water in shot attempts. Sutter reverted to sheltering Muzzin a fair bit, though Doughty's zone starts weren't particularly difficult. However, Doughty got a gargantuan portion of the Canucks' top-six. The Kings managed to control 58% of shot attempts with Jake Muzzin on the ice and he tied for a team-best +3 in even strength scoring chances. However, both players took penalties, which mitigates some of the positive things they did throughout the game. Not a bad night, though.

  • 2nd pairing (Regehr - Voynov), C-. Interestingly, Sutter chose to shelter Robyn Regehr's zone starts. While he still started more often there than in the offensive zone, Slava Voynov received 3 additional d-zone starts. In any case, their competition wasn't particularly tough as the top-six of the Nucks almost uniformly were in the bottom-half of their match-up numbers. Though he finished pretty well, but I thought Voynov had a weak start with and without the puck. The Kings controlled around 45% of the shot attempts with this pairing on the ice and they went -1 in chances. Like the top pair, not a bad night overall, but there were some obvious warts on their game.

  • 3rd pairing (Mitchell - Martinez), C. Martinez was once again heavily sheltered while Mitchell was buried. It seems as if Sutter prefers to shelter his weaker d-zone players when he's on the road, but that's based on anecdotal evidence and memory. Their competition wasn't supremely difficult, though they received a fair amount of minutes against Kesler's line. Still, I'd call it an alright night. While Mitchell went -1 in chances, he managed to tread water in possession; Martinez was just -1 in shot attempts but was even in chances.

Special Teams

  • Power Play, F. They sucked.

  • Penalty Kill, A-. Though the PK did finally give up a goal on Vancouver's 8th power play of the game, I'd call any lack of success a result of overwork as opposed to poor performance. The goal itself came on a broken play that the Sedins managed to take advantage of. Otherwise the PK were okay. Though Vancouver generated a boatload of shot attempts, many of them were from the perimeter and few resulted in dangerous opportunities. Over 12 minutes of power play time, the Canucks picked up just 5 scoring chances.


Ben Scrivens, A-

  • He was very solid. The first goal against was a little weak, but he made up for it with some excellent saves in the late stages of the game to keep the Kings in it. The defense in front of him was stellar again, but the Kings made him a factor by celebrating Thanksgiving early with their own parade to the penalty box.

Overall Team Performance, D

  • It's hard to give a team a truly poor grade when possession was as split at 5v5 as it was against Vancouver, but it was a pretty lackluster night for the team overall. Ben Scrivens and the third line were really the lone shiny spots; without them, the Kings probably lose. Discipline has been a problem all season. Whether you like the calls or not, teams don't earn 8 minor penalties by complete accident.

The Numbers

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...And just because I'd regret it if I didn't post this:

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