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Kings @ Blackhawks: Grades and Analysis


Jonathan Daniel

Predictably, the Kings came out flat against a motivated Blackhawks team. It seems as if two back-to-backs in less than a week was too much for them to handle, as the Kings never really got anything going on Sunday night. Eric has the game recap here.

Forward Lines

  • 1st line (King - Kopitar - Carter), F. Nearly every King came out behind in shot attempts, and there weren't any exceptions here. The top unit got run over by the Jonathan Toews line (who were *outstanding* by the way). Kopitar's -2 and slightly underwhelming possession numbers look bad enough, but the top line got extremely sheltered zone starts as well. Kopi himself started just 3 shifts in his own zone, but the puck almost always wound up there anyway. King and Carter both went a staggering -5 in scoring chances at evens.

  • 2nd line (Brown - Stoll - Williams), F. Again, pretty much everyone was a trainwreck. Dustin Brown was the worst forward on the Kings in terms of possession, while his linemates were a bit better but still awful. Williams "led" the trio with a -2 scoring chance rating at evens. That figure actually ties Williams with a small handful of others for the team lead among forwards in that regard.

  • 3rd line (Clifford - Richards - Toffoli), D. You can almost call this game a bounce-back for them, given how bad they were in Ottawa. Unfortunately, that still leaves you with a pretty terrible performance. This trio controlled just about 33% of shot attempts while they were out there, though some of that can be chalked up to extremely tough zone starts. Not one of the three players received even a single offensive zone start. With that said, Joel Quenneville rolled his lines pretty evenly when it came to matching up against Richards, so their competition wasn't over the top.

  • 4th line (Carcillo - Lewis - Nolan), F. Yikes. Two straight ugly performances for Lewis, who should've had fresher legs than the rest of the team given the lengthy stretch of games that he missed. This line received middling zone starts but got smoked in every facet of the game. In fact, this game marks back-to-back goose eggs for Lewis's line in the scoring chance department. It seems like that should never happen. You should accidentally shoot one on net from somewhere dangerous in roughly 20 minutes of ice-time over two games, right? They struggled defensively as well, as Quenneville did well to get Toews a couple of buttery minutes against them.

Defensive Pairings

  • 1st pairing (Muzzin - Doughty), D. If I split them up, I'd give Doughty a C and Muzzin an F. But that's not how this works most of the time, and certainly not on this night. Muzzin was a trainwreck, while Doughty was okay. Doughty was the only King (THE ONLY FUCKIN' ONE) to help the Kings control 50% of shot attempts while he was out there, and he did exactly that. Not one player (NOT ONE FUCKIN' PLAYER) got over that mark. It was messy out there. This pairing got middling zone starts but saw a lot of Patrick Kane, who was very solid.

  • 2nd pairing (Regehr - Voynov), F. After a one-game reprieve, Sutter returned to giving these guys silly minutes. They got the toughest zone starts and competition on the game, and both of them were pretty much terrible. Voynov was a team worst -9 (!!!) in even strength chances. Thankfully Robyn Regehr was there to save his bacon hahahahahaahahah fuck that Regehr was awful but somehow went -8 to Voynov's -9. Slava also was a team-worst in possession, allowing the Kings to control just 19.4% of shot attempts. Ugly stuff.

  • 3rd pairing (Martinez - Greene), F. Soft competition, neutral zone starts, and underwhelming numbers. Not a good combo. Greene actually led the team in chance +/- by going -1. Sutter eased him back into the lineup a bit, giving him the less minutes than the rest of the defense, but not by a large amount. Greene wasn't terribly noticeable, which is probably a good thing. Still, the pairing experienced little success. Some of that is not their fault, some of it is. They didn't do enough in my eyes to overcome their mediocre numbers.

Special Teams

  • something is supposed to go here but I've forgotten what it is

  • Penalty Kill, B. The PK honestly wasn't bad, and probably deserved a better fate. Basically, the Hawks boast too much skill to be consistently contained and sometimes they're going to break through even when you do most things right. The Kings were actually even in chances (and just -3 in shot attempts) while shorthanded, and did a pretty solid job of stifling Chicago. That said, Chicago scored.

Ben Scrivens, C.

  • Scrivens should almost get separate grades for his first period and his last two. All of the goals were certainly quality chances, but he was a little leaky to start the game. The first two goals hit him before traveling into the net, which shouldn't happen very much. However, in the last two periods he was stellar and kept the Kings alive. Well, more accurately, he didn't pull the plug on the team. The Hawks rained 17 scoring chances on the Kings in the final two frames, and Scrivens came up with every single save. He was the best King on Sunday night, which is a lot like [insert your simile of choice].

Overall Team Performance, F.

  • They sucked, but they can be forgiven. Two back-to-backs in a week is nearly unfair, particularly with every game coming on the road and the last of the four games coming against one of the best teams in recent memory. The Kings are probably one of the latter as well, but you can't blame the mountain-climber if the mountain is insurmountable. Every aspect of their game reeked of fatigue. They'll get a day of rest before experiencing catharsis all over the Oilers on Tuesday night.

Trigger Warning: The Numbers

  • They're really sad.
  • Robert will hopefully drop by with the Corsi table when he gets to it. Or he won't, because the summary of this game is that every King got killed by everybody. His choice!