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Western Conference Finals: Three Kings Performances of Note from Game 1

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Tasos Katopodis

Before Wednesday's crucial Game 2 in the Western Conference Final, let's take a look at some of the notable performances for LA in Game 1.

  • Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson helped form what was the Kings' most effective line combination. The Kings only managed 7 scoring chances at even strength. Tyler Toffoli was responsible for 3 of them, including LA's lone goal.

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    Tanner Pearson who setup that goal, had a strong game as well. He started 20% of his shifts in the defensive zone as compared to the offensive zone and was able to stay above water in both puck possession and scoring chances. He also was strong in the neutral zone as he gained the blueline with control of the puck 50% of the time. In our series preview, we thought this line would see a lot of time versus Chicago's 4th line and that they would need to produce in those minutes. They did so in Game 1. Can they keep that up in Game 2?

  • Marian Gaborik was probably the Kings' best player on Sunday afternoon. Gaborik logged 2 scoring chances and setup another on the power play. He also gained the offensive zone with possession of the puck 6 times, far more than any of his teammates. That was while seeing 74%  of his minutes against the Toews line. He's been great this entire post-season, but the Kings will need him to keep up his league leading goal scoring pace to get to the Finals.


  • Jeff Schultz was an interesting case in Game 1. On the one hand, he had the best possession numbers on the team by far. Yet, he was on ice for two of the Blackhawks three goals. One was on a penalty kill where he had some failed attempts to clear the puck shortly before the goal. The other came after a poor breakout attempt lead to a turnover and subsequent goal. Schultz's possession numbers were more of indicator of how effective the Kings were as a team when Jonathan Toews wasn't on ice. When Toews was on ice, Chicago owned 56% of all attempts at 5v5. When he wasn't on ice that number fell to 36%. Sutter did his best to keep Schultz away from Toews as Schultz only saw 1.4 minutes of ice time against the Blackhawks' captain. In fact, late in the 2nd, after Schultz's turnover lead to Chicago's second goal, Sutter made an adjustment. He moved Mitchell up to the 2nd pair with Voynov and Schultz down to the 3rd pair with Martinez. This move could be an indicator that Matt Greene will get the call in Game 2.