Game 1 was a dominant performance by the Kings from a possession standpoint, but there are some signs that not everything is rosy. The Kings were surprisingly top heavy in generating quality chances while the rest of the lines had limited of success.
Let's take a closer look at how this stuff brokedown, here are the charts:
(% of ice time against at even strength, Green=more, red=less)
via NHL Numbers, incredibly awesome site please click link and read the article.
- The Coyotes had a hard time figuring out who to match against Kopitar because nothing was working (as evidenced by the 79.8% ZSAC rating above). After the 1st period, Vermette had the most time against, after the 2nd it was Gordon and by the end it was Hanzal. It appeared to be Tippett's pregame strategy to use a mix of Vermette/Gordon and find Hanzal some softer matchups to try to generate offense. That didn't work and he adjusted as the game progressed.
- The Coyotes hard matched Ekman-Larsson against Kopitar, following their regular season trend, and obviously it didn't work well in Game 1 as Ekman-Larsson's rating was a miserable 28.2%. In addition, he suffered from a -7 scoring chance rating against Kopitar (an incredibly bad one for a single game, especially in the conference finals).
- The Stoll line had an effective game at controlling the puck but that didn't translate into scoring opportunities. Still though, their ability to drive play in spite of a lot of defensive zone starts has been a huge help to the Kings in the playoffs.
- Langkow was the most effective line for the Coyotes but this didn't lead to many scoring chances. In the last series the only effective line in the 1st game for the Blues was their 4th line as well. That lead to Hitchcock moving them up the depth chart in Game 2 and giving them time against Kopitar. Will we see a similar reaction by Tippett in Game 2 of this series?
- The biggest worry for the Kings in Game 1 was the fact that the Richards line was effectively neutralized. The Kings can't rely on their L1 to be as dominant as they were last night for the rest of the series. Richards line was -3 against Vermette in the SC battle while be played to a draw possession-wise.
- One of the secrets to the success of the Coyotes has been the play of their 4th line. They've been getting juicy matchups and generating a lot of points for a depth line. They could be the difference in a close game, and it looks like Mike Smith is going to be keeping a lot of these games pretty close. The Fraser line is going to need to be better going forward.
Even Strength Line Combinations:
- L1 = Brown-Kopitar-Williams
- L2 = Penner-Richards-Carter
- L3 = King-Stoll-Lewis
- L4 = Richardson-Fraser-Nolan
- D1 = Scuderi-Doughty
- D2 = Mitchell-Voynov
- D3 = Martinez-Greene
- L1 = Whitney-Hanzal-Vrbata
- L2 = Boedker-Vermette-Doan
- L3 = Korpikoski-Gordon-Pyatt
- L4 = Brule-Langkow-Chipchura
- D1 = Yandle-Morris
- D2 = Klesla-Ekman-Larsson
- D3 = Rozsival-Schlemko