The Kings were dominant for two thirds of last night's game and then everything fell apart in the third. They were caged in their zone for long stretches of that period and eventually fell to the Blues 2-1.
Again Jonathan Quick was the story for allowing another questionable game winning goal, but what were some other factors that contributed to game two's loss?
For more check out Eric's recap.
- 1st line (Brown-Kopitar-Williams), Grade: B. Kopitar was hard-matched once again to the Blues 1st line and pair. This time he fared much better thanks to being reunited with Dustin Brown and Justin Williams. The first two periods harkened back to a time (a few weeks ago) when this was one of the more dominant lines in the NHL, then the wheels came off in the third. They spent very little time in the attacking end in that period and consequently allowed several shots and a couple of grade-A scoring opportunities. That being said, overall the play of Justin Williams was so stellar that it again restored this line to being one that can take over games. Williams gained the zone with control of the puck more than any other King and created 7 shots in doing so. If this line can put together 3 full periods, they'll make the Kings a very tough team to put away.
- 2nd Line (King-Richards-Carter), Grade: B+. Very similar story for this line. Mike Richards was able to put up another strong two way game while being tasked with a different set of linemates. They matched the offensive output of the first line in creating scoring chances and also were the Kings best line in the 3rd (although that isn't saying much). Hitchcock hard-matched his 2nd line against this unit and they played each other to a draw over three periods, although the Richards line played extremely well over the first two.They also did a lot of damage against the Blues 3rd line registering a lot of zone time against them and recording several chances.
- 3rd Line (Penner-Stoll-Lewis), Grade: F. Oof. They were so promising in the latter half of game one, but maybe they ate some bad oysters between games one and two. They played mainly against the 3rd line but were pretty much destroyed by everyone they played against. Penner saw his last shift with 6 minutes to go, but that didn't help much. This unit was on ice for the Blues game winner with King replacing Penner, and based on the way they played it was a fitting end to their night.
- 4th Line (Clifford-Fraser-Nolan), Grade: F. Another trainwreck. The Kings spent most of the night in their own zone when the Kings bottom 6 was out there. This unit, unlike the 3rd line, were bad in both games. Installing Fraser over Richardson didn't seem to help much. Clifford and Nolan saw their last shift with 11 minutes to go in the 3rd, while Sutter double shifted Williams and Brown with Fraser late in the game. It'll be interesting to see what Sutter does with this unit in the 3rd game. I have a feeling Nolan might get the axe.
- Regehr/Muzzin-Doughty, Grade: C. Again Sutter split Doughty's time with Muzzin and Regehr. And again Doughty played better with Muzzin than with Regehr. He was +1 in attempts when paired with Muzzin and -5 when paired with Regehr. Scoring chance numbers reveal a similar trend. Is it time for Regehr to permanently be moved down to the third pair?
- Scuderi-Voynov, Grade: A. A much better game than the last and they even drew a tougher assignment. This time around they saw nearly half of their time against the Backes line. They stayed afloat in the possession battle while also being on ice for several scoring opportunities while allowing nearly none.
- Muzzin/Regehr-Ellerby, Grade F. Another rough one for Keaton Ellerby. Sutter obviously didn't like his game and only played him for 6 minutes at even strength. He also only saw time in the first half of the third period. It wouldn't be the world's biggest surprise to see Matt Greene in the lineup for game 3. Another long-shot scenario would be putting in Alec Martinez and moving Scuderi over to the right side.
- Grade: B. L.A. had nearly 6 minutes with the man advantage and scored a goal on 4 shots and registered 3 scoring chances. Another productive game for the power play.
- Grade: A. Again lots of PK time. One big problem for the Kings in the first two games has been undisciplined play. They've spent nearly 16 minutes shorthanded over the first two games. Conversely, they've only had the power play for half that time. This time the penalty kill had a strong game. They only allowed one shot and scoring chance in 7 and a half minutes. We were critical of Ellerby and Regehr above at even strength, but they also saw a lot of time on the PK so that should be noted.
- Grade: C. Jonathan Quick only gave up two goals and had a .920 save percentage for the game, but he could have been a little better in this one given that the Kings defense did an excellent job at keeping the blues to the outside. St. Louis only registered 6 scoring chance shots and he saved 5. Which in and of itself isn't awful. But the game winning goal wasn't a scoring chance and was obviously pretty savable. That being said because of the high profile nature of the two bad game winning goals allowed, Quick is obviously taking a little more heat than he deserves. His save percentage in the playoffs so far is .940.
- The Kings have yet to play anywhere near their best hockey. They looked like a dominant team in the first two periods but looked like they handed their uniforms over to the Buffalo Sabres while they all went out and got tacos. Well, there probably aren't any decent tacos in St. Louis. So they probably went to get free samples at Costco which, as everyone knows, is St. Louis' top rated dining experience.
- It is slightly encouraging that the Kings played two subpar games on the road and barely lost both. Obviously it would have been nicer for them to have played better and won. They've dug themselves a hole and are going to have play their A-game for the rest of the series in order to dig themselves out.
If you're unfamiliar with shot attempts and scoring chances, check out these links to see why they are important: Corsi -Scoring Chances.
(Players in parenthesis selected as proxies to represent their units. The way to read it is: The Kings 1st line spent X% of their time against the opponents first line, etc. Red = more time against. Green = less time.)
(The way to read this one is: The Kings' 1st line was on ice for X shot attempts against the opponents first line, etc. Red = more zone time against. Green = less time.)
Even Strength - Player Stats
|NAME||ATTEMPTS FOR||ATTEMPTS AGAINST||ATTEMPT +/-||CHANCES FOR||CHANCES AGAINST||CHANCE +/-|