The Kings were able to exact revenge on Detroit and got their 5th win in row.
Detroit was dominant at times and their penalty troubles enabled the Kings turn the tide. L.A. was lead by a strong effort from Jonathan Bernier and their defensemen. Also Anze Kopitar's line was sensational and the only effective forward unit on the night.
Postgame, Darryl Sutter made some interesting comments that echo a lot of what we've been observing here at Jewels from the Crown:
The thing we have to work on, it’s not goals against, it’s save percentage. So Bernie’s continuing to move up. Jonathan Quick has to move up. We play 17 games in March. His save percentage has to be better. When you look at the league, our goals against is probably now top-five, six or whatever it is. But, our save percentage has to be better. There are statistics that hold true, and that’s one of them.
We give up the second fewest shots. So then it comes down to the guy that’s stopping the shots, right?
via Mayors Manor
Sure the Kings defense has been depleted by injury, but they are still 2nd in shots allowed in the NHL. Alec Martinez is coming back soon. The list of of possible trade targets (penalty killing/ shutdown types) is looking pretty thin and it's a seller's market. Perhaps the urgency exhibited by some to acquire a defenseman should be tempered.
For more on the game check out Eric's recap here.
Now let's take a look at how the team graded out overall.
- 1st line (Brown-Kopitar-Williams), Grade: A+. The single biggest factor in the Kings current winning streak has been the play of their 1st line. Against Detroit, Anze Kopitar started 9 shifts in the defensive end, while only starting 3 in the attacking zone. He also spent 50% of of his ice time being matched against the Zetterberg line. The results? 1 goal, +3 in scoring chances, and +13 in shot attempts. He also gained the offensive zone 4 times all with control of the puck which generated 6 shots.
- 2nd Line (Lewis/Penner-Richards-Carter), Grade: C. Sutter was juggling left wingers on this line for most of the game. Lewis had the most time, but Penner also had a few shifts on it as well. They drew a tough matchup against the Datsyuk line and struggled to stay above water. Richards wasn't able to gain the zone once. The upside was that they managed to keep scoring chances to a minimum. The Kings only allowed 2 while Richards he was on ice. So even though they didn't have a lot of time in the offensive zone, the played well in their own end keeping most of Detroit's attempts to the outside.
- 3rd Line (Penner-Stoll-King), Grade: D. At times this line has been used in a stopper role, but not tonight. They spent the vast majority of their time against Detroit's third line (Emmerton), but were largely outplayed. Detroit had copious amounts of offensive zone time against them. When they were able to gain the zone they exclusively resorted to dumping the puck in and struggled to retrieve it. Sutter recognized their struggles and broke the line up late in the third.
- 4th Line (Clifford-Fraser-Nolan), Grade: D. Very similar story for the fourth line. Matched against the opposing fourth (which was the Tatar line based on how ice time broke down), they had a hard time controlling the puck and played a lot of dump and chase. Sutter was unhappy with their effort and Fraser and Nolan were benched in the third. It seems inherent to the Kings' organizational philosophy that the bottom 6 must resort to playing a lot of big bodied, physical hockey--which explains why Gagne is no longer here and Loktionov for that matter. Although there are some serious questions as to that being an optimal strategy, they are sticking to it nonetheless. That being said, if they are going to play this much dump and chase they are going to have to do it a lot better than this. The 4th line created a grand total of 0 shots out of all of their dump-ins combined.
- Muzzin-Doughty, Grade: A. Hard-matched against the Datsyuk line and started more shifts in the defensive end than the offensive. Doughty had another solid performance. Stayed ahead in the possession and scoring chance game, also took matters into his own hands a couple of times and gained the zone aggressively.
- Scuderi-Voynov, Grade: C. Spent more than half the game matched against the Red Wings top six. 8 defensive zone starts to 4 offensive. They were given the primary shutdown role. As a result they bled shot attempts (21 against) and scoring chances (Scuderi 5, Voynov 4 against). They also were on ice for Detroit's lone goal (albeit a very flukey one) and both were guilty of taking penalties. Voynov did show a lot of spark in the neutral zone, winning the puck and gaining the offensive end 4 times. Sutter had high praise for Voynov and the young defense after the game, but I suspect he was saying it was their best game collectively given their competition. From an individual standpoint, Voynov has had better ones.
- Ellerby-Drewiske, Grade A. Matched against the bottom 6 they were able to stay way ahead in both chances (+4) and possession. They were also active and decisive in breaking out of the defensive zone. Neither of them registered a turnover in the defensive end. They also managed to stay out of the box, which was huge considering how overwhelming Detroit's power play looked. Very encouraging that they've strung together two strong games in a row.
- Grade: D. Six and a half minutes of PP time, almost half of which was 5v3. They were able to get the game tying goal as well as 5 shots, but only managed 2 quality chances. They looked very indecisive on their 5v3 opportunities for the most part and got a goal mainly due to the quantity of their opportunities rather than the quality of them.
- Grade: D. 6:00 of PK time 8 shots on goal and 5 scoring chances. Another bad night for the penalty kill as this time they were bailed out by Jonathan Bernier.
- Grade: A. 10 of Detroit's 12 scoring chances were shots on goal. Of those 10 shots, Jonathan Bernier stopped all of them. Detroit's lone goal didn't come from within the scoring chance area. He faced 33 shots overall and stopped 32 of them. That's a SV% of .970.
Overall Team Grade: B.
- The Kings mantra of their best players needing to be their best players is getting tired, but nevertheless it remains true. And tonight their best players were their best.
- That doesn't mean though that the Kings depth lines can continue to play this poorly. The Kings only gained the zone with possession 38% of the time, largely due to the bottom 6 exclusively dumping in the puck.
- Now that Gagne is gone, you have to wonder how much longer the Kings will go with this mix in their bottom 6 before they either infuse some fresh blood from the minors or look to acquire someone via trade. Most people are seeing the Kings defense as their greatest area of need, but it's starting to look more and more like they could use some help in their forward depth. I suspect that a move in this regard is forthcoming in spite of Dean Lombardi's comments to the contrary. Perhaps it's a subtle hint then that the Monarchs signed a couple of forwards to try-out agreements shortly after the Gagne deal.
If you're unfamiliar with shot attempts and scoring chances, check out these links to see why they are important: Corsi - Scoring Chances.
Los Angeles Kings - Even Strength
|NAME||SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR||SHOT ATTEMPTS AGAINST||SHOT ATTEMPTS +/-||SCORING CHANCES FOR||SCORING CHANCES AGAINST||SCORING CHANCE +/-||ZONE ENTRIES||ENTRIES W/ CONTROL|
Los Angeles Kings - Even Strength - Team Totals
|#||Player Name||Shots on Goal /60||Shots Through /60||Shot Attempts /60||Attempts Blocked / 60||Attempts Missed /60||Attempts not on Net /60|
For in-game scoring chance and shot attempt updates: Follow @RobertJftC