The Kings had their strongest effort last night in a pivotal game. Sutter made some major changes to his line combinations in an effort to spark his team. We'll take a look at how well those worked and more.
For a recap on the game, click here.
- 1st line (Clifford-Kopitar-Williams), Grade: A. A huge, much needed bounce-back effort from the Kopitar line. They spent the majority of their time against the Couture line and were dominant on the puck. They also saw a lot of time against Dan Boyle and Matt Irwin and made them look atrocious. This pairing for the Sharks hadn't been drawing the toughest matchups and was perhaps being being used in a more offensive role. Tonight they drew a the Kopitar line and didn't fare well. Kopitar logged two scoring chances and 7 attempts at the net.
- 2nd Line (Penner-Richards-Carter), Grade: A. Maybe even a slightly stronger game for them than the Kopitar line. They drew the Thornton line, which as we all know by know has been a nearly unstoppable force. They won that matchup tonight and were a threat offensively. Jeff Carter logged 3 scoring chances and a goal. Defensively, they only allowed one quality opportunity. Although Penner wasn't a factor in the scoring sheet, he had a big impact on his line. He is skating better than at any point this season and was a real force on the forecheck.
- 3rd Line (King-Lewis-Brown), Grade: A. It appears that Darryl Sutter may have found the right formula with these latest line combinations. Dustin Brown was slotted onto the right side of this line, moving him back to his natural wing. Given the boost that Brown's presence provided, Sutter felt comfortable sending them out against difficult competition. They saw most of their time against the Couture line. And while they didn't find much success against the Sharks top 6, they did play them to a draw. Where they did find a big edge was against the Sharks' 4th line, centered by Gomez. They were +7 in attempts against them.
- 4th Line (Richardson-Fraser-Toffoli), Grade: C. This was the first time all season the Kings iced a 4th line that didn't contain a big body. They were matched primarily against a less skilled and more physical 4th line, yet couldn't get much going offensively.
- Regehr-Doughty, Grade: A. In the last game, Sutter had been feverishly rotating the left side of his defensive pairings as he tried to find something that worked. This time he didn't need to. The Kings took a page from the Sharks from this one and aggressively activated their defense in the offensive end. their were a couple instance early where Regehr made spry, well-timed pinches that resulted in scoring opportunities. Overall, they were charged with defending against the Thornton line and effectively shut them down.
- Scuderi-Voynov, Grade: A. Easily the 2nd pair's best game of the series. The Kings recorded more chances while Voynov and Scuderi were on the ice than anyone else. They were also very effective in their breakout, something they had really been struggling with in the series, and didn't turn the puck over once
- Muzzin-Greene, Grade A. Greene had a very strong effort in his 2nd game of the post-season. He delivered several hits that allowed the Kings to gain possession of the puck, stayed out of the penalty box and didn't turn the puck over. They saw most of their time against the bottom 6 and although not much offense was generated with them on ice, they didn't allow a single scoring chance.
- Power Play, D. 6 minutes of power play time and only 2 shots and only 1 scoring chance. They also allowed a short handed chance thanks to a bungling play at the blue line from Jake Muzzin. A stronger effort from the Kings power play would have made this one a blowout.
- Penalty Kill, A. 6 minutes of penalty kill time, they allowed 4 shot and only 1 chance. They also registered a scoring chance. The penalty kill helped keep the door shut and didn't allow the Sharks to get back in the game at any point.
- Grade: A. All of the Sharks 10 scoring chances were also shots on goal and Jonathan Quick stopped all of them. Not, much more needs to be said, he was excellent yet again in spite of the Sharks efforts to rattle him.
Overall Team Grade: A+.
- Obviously the Kings best game of the playoffs. The only effort that came close to this was game 3 against the Blues. That game marked a turning point in that series. The Kings lost the first two in heartbreaking fashion yet had been out-played. They found their game in game 3 and went on to rattle off 6 straight. Can they replicate that coming off their strong game tonight?
If you're unfamiliar with shot attempts and scoring chances, check out these links to see why they are important: Corsi -Scoring Chances.
Even Strength - On-Ice Player Stats
|NAME||ATTEMPTS FOR||ATTEMPTS AGAINST||ATTEMPT +/-||CHANCES FOR||CHANCES AGAINST||CHANCE +/-|
|MATT GREENE (A)||14||8||+6||2||0||+2|
|ANZE KOPITAR (A)||20||12||+8||4||2||+2|
|DUSTIN BROWN (C)||12||5||+7||2||2||+0|
Even Strength - Team Stats
|PERIOD||ATTEMPTS FOR||ATTEMPTS AGAINST||ATTEMPT +/-||CHANCES FOR||CHANCES AGAINST||SCORING CHANCE +/-|
|Total||54||34||3||12 (13)*||6 (10)||+6 (+3)|
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