After a competitive first period, the Kings pulled things together and dominated the game in the second.
The Kings out-shot Columbus 31-20 and 17-2 in the second alone. Columbus formulated a comeback in the third but were stifled by Jonathan Quick who looked better in the that period than he has all season.
Other performances of note-- Mike Richards recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick, Slava Voynov played his most complete game of the season, and Justin Williams earned 3 points.
- 1st line (Brown - Kopitar - Williams), Grade: A- Dominant on the puck in the attacking zone, which lead to two goals and four scoring chances. Saw time exclusively against Columbus' top line, and effectively shut them down from a puck possession standpoint. Still, they had a tough time reducing chances in the defensive zone when Anisimov was on the attack. Also should have been able to create more quality chances considering how dominant they were on the puck.
- 2nd line (Gagne-Richards-Carter), Grade: B. Saw most of their time against Columbus' 2nd line, which was without their centerman, Brandon Dubinsky, for half the game. They struggled to drive play forward, but when they did they were the Kings most effective line at generating chances.
- 3rd Line (King-Stoll-Lewis), Grade: B. Against depth forwards they controlled play, but this didn't translate into very many opportunites. Dwight King jumped lines and was a drag on possession numbers when he did.
- 4th Line (Clifford-Fraser-Nolan), Grade: D. This line is out of sorts. Fraser again saw very little ice time at even strength-- as did Nolan. They didn't contribute much when they were out there and were on ice for Columbus' first goal.
- Scuderi-Doughty, Grade: C. Drew Doughty saw less even strength ice time than Slava Voynov, and easier matchups. The Kings top pair mainly saw time against the 2nd and 3rd lines. Even given their easy assignments they struggled to drive play and were out-chanced.
- Martinez-Voynov, Grade: A. This was one of Slava Voynov's best games of his NHL career. He flashed potential beyond that of a second pairing defenseman as he was dominant in all 3 zones of play. Despite receiving tougher matchups than the top pair, Martinez-Voynov constantly moved play forward and generated several great looks at the net.
- Muzzin-Drewiske, Grade A. Again very soft matchups, but unlike last game, they played very well. Columbus couldn't generate any offense when they were on ice. Drewiske jumped to the top pair after Rob Scuderi missed some time and had a positive impact on Doughty's numbers.
- Grade: C. Although the Kings did manage to score one PP goal, they had a difficult time generating sustained pressure. They only recorded one quality chance in 4 minutes of PP time.
- Grade: A. Suprising to see which Kings forwards saw the most PK time in this game. The top PK unit was no suprise, Jarrett Stoll-Trevor-Lewis. The 2nd unit of Gagne-Williams was unusual (caused by losing Mike Richards for an extnded amount of time due to his obligatory instigating a fight with a visor penalty). Neither Williams or Gagne have much experience as centermen and both are regarded as offensive minded vets. They have been great possession forwards throughout their career, though, which is an underrated skill in relation to killing penalties. The Kings PK unit only allowed one scoring chance and 0 goals in 6 minutes of PK time.
- Grade: C. Even though Quick made a spectular save in the 3rd to preserve the Kings one goal lead, he again struggled to make quality saves against limited chances. Columbus was able to score on 2 out of 12 scoring chances, giving Quick a save percentage of .833 on difficult shots. His overall save percentage was .900. In the 3rd though, he faced 5 chances and looked rock solid against each of them. A great sign moving forward and here's to hoping the Kings' goaltending woes have turned a corner.
Overall Team Grade: B.
- The Kings dominated the 2nd period, out-chancing Columbus 8-1 and out-attempting them 21-3(!). The other two periods were played a lot closer. The Kings still have room for improvement but seem to be on the right track.
Tables are sortable.
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
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Los Angeles Kings - Even Strength - Team Totals
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