Depth loomed large in LA's dismantling of the Florida Panthers. Dan Carcillo and Jordan Nolan each turned in multi-point performances as the Kings cruised past the least of the Flortheast.
- 1st line (Brown - Kopitar - Williams), Grade: A. Excellent performance from the top line. They controlled the puck, created chances and completely neutralized the opposing attack. Williams rebounded from a rough-ish game with a spectacular one, scoring a goal (his 500th career point!) while generally being the great player that he is. Just a very solid performance by all three players in every aspect.
- 2nd line (King - Richards - Carter), Grade: B. The 2nd line once again dominated the puck. Carter and Richards are on a good run right now, and today they took King along for the ride. One slight negative: not as efficient defensively as they had been. After a couple of very solid defensive games with Dan Carcillo on the left side, they allowed a few more chances in Florida. One breakdown in particular stood out. At the 10:42 mark of the first, King, Carter and Richards all seemed to whiff on coverage as Kris Versteeg streaked right down the middle of the ice and rifled a shot into Ben Scrivens. I am not a well-versed systems guy, but King seemed to be the main culprit. However, Richards wasn't covering anyone in particular and Jeff Carter was in the vicinity as well. Just seemed like a bad play in in general. Still, the line dominated possession and out-chanced their opponents. Maybe Dan Carcillo is a defensive dynamo after all.
- 3rd line (Clifford - Lewis - Frattin), Grade: C+. Sutter softened the 3rd line's assignment again, generally avoiding deploying them in the defensive zone in this one. In the previous game against Carolina, they split evenly between offensive and defensive zone starts while still getting a lot of neutral zone draws. This time they were sent out in the d-zone just one time. Granted, Sutter didn't use them a ton off faceoffs, but it's just a little thing worth noting. Considering their soft zone starts and the quality of the team they were playing (and also considering how damn good the rest of the team was), the slight shot attempt advantage they mustered isn't particularly impressive. Still, they did their job well enough. They didn't make mistakes and played a similar type of low-key, low-risk hockey to the game they played against Carolina. It's about what I expect from this trio going forward, should they stick together.
- 4th line (Carcillo - Stoll - Nolan), Grade: A. I kind of want to exclude Stoll from this, because he was actually the only player on the entire team to lose the shot attempt battle. Fortunately for him, he plays with Dan Carcillo and Jordan Nolan, a couple of really good hockey players. Okay, not really, but they were very good against Florida. Jordan Nolan continued his string of strong play and finally got rewarded with a goal and an assist. Dan Carcillo scored the game-winner in the 2nd period and added an assist on Nolan's goal as well. He also drew a penalty. I know it's only been 3 games, but I've been extremely surprised with the play of Dan Carcillo. He didn't drag down Richards and Carter, and they actually played some of the best overall hockey that they've played as Kings. Then, after getting moved away from them, he notched 2 points anyway! He should pull out his...nevermind. Anyway. Jordan Nolan. Also very good. You hear a lot of "best shape of his career" garbage, but Nolan really looks it. He just seems so much quicker this year. Not just a faster skater, but more agile, more shifty (what that doesn't say is "more shitty"). His game is noticeably more up-tempo. He seems much more capable of making a quick read and executing a play based on it. It's a small sample, but he looks a lot more like the 2012 player that seemed like a 4th liner with a real future in the NHL.
- 1st pairing (Regehr - Doughty), Grade: B. Much like I wanted to separate Stoll from his group, I really want to split these up and give them separate grades. Doughty was excellent and as active offensively as he has been yet. He engaged in the cycle and jumped down low to create or almost create chances on several occasions. Regehr, on the other hand, was the only player on the team to lose the scoring chance battle. Florida had 6 chances at even strength and Regehr was on the ice for 5 of them. Doughty was only on for 4 himself. Not one play this season will encapsulate Regehr like him kneeling to stop a puck only to have it bounce by him and turn into a clear-cut breakaway for the other team. Robyn wasn't as outright atrocious as he has been at times, but he is not a top-pairing defenseman. Sutter is doing his team and his best defenseman a huge disservice by continuing to insist that he is. Alternatively, I'm beating a dead horse. Then again, Sutter is trying to ride a dead horse.
- 2nd pairing (Mitchell - Voynov), Grade: A. I think Willie Mitchell is starting to recover. For a second straight game, opponents struggled mightily to create offense with Willie on the ice. His penalty was a silly one, but it was the only sign of rust in an otherwise excellent game. Voynov seemed much more sure of himself in this one as well. This pair absolutely crushed the opposition in shot attempts. Just a fantastic game.
- 3rd pairing (Martinez - Greene), Grade: B-. Not much to complain about here. Perhaps you'd like to see them win the possession game a little more handily (READ ALSO: 3rd line) due to soft minutes, but they limited the opposition defensively (1 chance allowed combined between the two of them) and won the shot attempt game.
- Power Play, Grade: INC/F. Depends on how you want to grade it yourself. They didn't see the ice much, but the lone power play the Kings had was a mess. They couldn't control the puck in the zone and they barely managed a shot, let alone a scoring chance.
- Penalty Kill, Grade: A. Allowed just 1 chance in 2 opportunities and held Florida to 3 shots. For the first time this season, it wasn't much of a special teams game. That will almost always work out in LA's favor. One complaint I have is that they didn't win the scoring chance battle with the opposing team's power play tonight. Come on you dicks.
Goaltending, Grade: A.
- You almost have to give Scrivens an incomplete for this one, as he was barely tested throughout the game. However, he made a few nice saves and stopped everything sent his way. He has yet to allow a goal as a King. If there's a complaint about his game, then you heard it from Jim Fox at various times throughout the game. His communication with the defensemen when he was handling the puck was not good. One particularly rough play saw him go back to corral a dump-in, then back away before the puck reached him because the oncoming forecheck worried him. However, his defenseman read the play as if Scrivens was going to pass him the puck. Instead, Florida got to the puck first and fed the puck out to the slot for a quick chance, which Scrivens thankfully turned away. It's a minor quip, and likely one that will get worked out with repetition. Also, Scrivens is a fun name to say. Scrivens Scrivens Scrivens.
Overall Team Grade: A.
- LA has turned in its best performance of the season three consecutive times. This team has definitely worked out some of its early kinks and, very thankfully, looks nothing like the team that finished last season with a complete inability to move or possess the puck. It's early and the competition hasn't been very strong the past two games, but the Kings are heading in the right direction.
- Extra Skater
- Scoring Chances (refresh if it doesn't look right)
Notes: Williams led the team with 3 chances; Brown and Carcillo had 2 chances,; Carter, Lewis, Nolan, Doughty, King and Kopitar all had 1. Richards set up 2 chances to lead the team; Carter, Kopitar, Stoll and Brown all set up 1 chance.
Courtesy of Robert: matchup corsi.