Just a quick update on matchups and possession before tonight's game.
Matchup Possession Results
- The series possession numbers are surprisingly close. The Sharks have out-attempted the Kings 109-107 in 5v5 score close situations. The Kings have out-attempted the Sharks 196-186 overall at evens. But when we look at scoring chances we see a huge disparity in the Sharks favor. According to Nick, the Sharks have out-chanced the Kings 61-30 at evens (92-43, overall).
- The only line that has been able to do any real damage for the Kings has been the Kopitar line. That is no real surprise as that has been the trend in games between these two teams in the past. No matter who Kopitar has been on against the Kings have had the edge in zone time. Tonight he should see a lot of Logan Couture as that has been the trend in games at SAP. It'll be interesting to see who the Sharks get Thornton out against if Richards continues to see 4th line minutes.
- Richards' matchup results are interesting. He's received a real boost from being moved to the 4th line. He has done very well in soft minutes against the Sharks 4th line. Yet, when Richards has faced the Sharks top six he's gotten killed.
- The biggest problem area for the Kings has been the play of their 2nd pair. They've spent most of their time against the Sharks top six and have been getting crushed. We can see from the possession chart that they've also bled a ton of shots when on ice against the third line. That is pretty troubling. Voynov and his likely partner Robyn Regehr will see lot's of time against the Sharks 2nd line tonight. They'll have to play much better than they have in order to increase the Kings chances of extending the series. Darryl Sutter doesn't do a lot of zone matching, but maybe he should consider getting his 2nd pair a ton of o-zone starts tonight.
- Outside of even strength play, one area that has really been hurting the Kings has been the Sharks power play. The Sharks are getting 75 shots on goal per 60 minutes of power play numbers. That is a staggeringly high number. As a point of comparison, the Sharks lead the league this year in that department by getting 64 shots on goal per 60. LA would do themselves a lot of good to stay out of the penalty box tonight.