Blues @ Kings: Grades and Analysis

[organ plays] BLUES SUCK [organ plays] BLUES SUCK [organ plays] BLUES SUCK [organ plays] BLUES SUCK

It wouldn't really be hockey season if the Kings weren't laughing the Blues out of the Staples Center. Eric has the game recap here.

Forward Lines

  • 1st line (King - Kopitar - Carter), C. Pretty tough night for the top line. Carter and Kopitar made up a third of the small handful of players that possessed the puck less than half the time. Both of them got out-chanced as well. On the bright side, King reversed his performance from the Flames game and out-performed both of his linemates both in possession and chances. While the numbers weren't great, the game was rather score effected and their minutes were absolutely brutal.
  • 2nd line (Brown - Stoll - Williams), B-. Justin Williams is just a machine. Just three times this season has the other team controlled shot attempts with him on the ice. On Monday, he proved that he doesn't even need Anze Kopitar (well, actually he's proved that over and over during his entire career). The Kings controlled 59% of shot attempts with Williams on the ice. In spite of territorial control, this line generated just 1 scoring chance. However, as the game was pretty score effected, I won't hold it against them. This line took on tough zone starts and decent competition.
  • 3rd line (Nolan - Richards - Toffoli), B. In another rather complete role reversal from the previous game, Tyler Toffoli was the most effective forward on the Kings against St. Louis. Though his zone starts were moderately sheltered, he faced off against solid competition with skilled players littering his most frequent match-ups. All that said: he rocked. Toffoli went from goddammit to God himself, posting the best possession and scoring chance numbers among forwards. Richards and Nolan didn't experience quite the success that Toffoli did. Nolan hasn't been great since I advocated for him to receive an increased role.
  • 4th line (Clifford - Fraser - Frattin), C. This may have been the most effective offensive night that the fourth line has had all season. I do not think it's a coincidence that such a game happened upon Clifford and Fraser joining it, as they're either already worthy of being considered for more responsibility (Frattin) or on the verge of such consideration (Clifford). Frattin came out of the gates flying, contributing directly to 3 scoring chances in the first ten minutes of the game. The line slowed down after that, but so did the entire game. With the game close, this line took their competition (which was moderately difficult) to task. Their overall possession and chance +/- numbers aren't great, but I was happy with their game. Except Colin Fraser's. #freelindenvey/

Defensive Pairings

  • 1st pairing (Muzzin - Doughty), B. Doughty and Muzzin received easily the toughest minutes on the team and did a pretty decent job. They controlled right around 50% of both shot attempts and scoring chances. Neither factored directly into any offense but did nothing to prevent their forwards from creating their own. Doughty wound up on the ice for 6 Kings chances in the game./
  • 2nd pairing (Mitchell - Voynov), B. While Muzzin's and Doughty's were the toughest, the second pairing's minutes were overcooked as well. They squared off against a very formidable line led by Vladimir Tarasenko and did so with rather unfavorable zone starts. In spite of that, the twosome controlled around 54% of shot attempts. Voynov came out +2 in scoring chances as well (+5/-3). Neither was a direct factor in any offense, but -- much like the top pairing -- they did nothing to prevent the creation of offense.
  • 3rd pairing (Regehr - Martinez), B-. Oddball night for this pairing. After an injury briefly left him incapable of playing, Regehr returned to post the best Corsi on the team for the game. He also went +1 in chances while his partner was a -2. I suspect that Regehr will return to Slava Voynov's side tonight in Anaheim, assuming that he's not in danger of aggravating whatever injury he suffered last night./

Special Teams

  • Power Play, F. lmao/
  • Penalty Kill, A. The PK was once again exceptionally strong, yielding just 2 chances to a potent Blues power play. St. Louis's first goal probably should be counted as a power play goal/chance. Even with that included, though, it was a very effective night. The Blues came in boasting one of the best power plays in the league and the Kings held them to a rather pedestrian shot attempt per minute. Mike Richards also created a breakaway for himself, but a nice, last-second stickcheck prevented him from turning that into a shot. Scrivens has enjoyed a ton of success while shorthanded, and some of that is due to regress. However, if the Kings continue to be this stifling while shorthanded, it will be a much slower, much less destructive decline.

Ben Scrivens, B.

  • Unlike the last game, Scrivens came up with the big save when the Kings really needed one. Shortly after Kevin Shattenkirk's goal to make it 3-1, Drew Doughty threw a tape-to-tape pass to the stick of David Backes. Backes waltzed straight down the slot with a glorious chance to give the Blues some real life, but Scrivens shut the door. It was probably his only true test of the night, but he passed. Another solid effort in which he did just about everything that could reasonably be expected of him.

Overall Team Performance, A.

The Kings continued their run of stingy defense with another domineering effort on Monday night. Exceptional defensive structure has given the Kings some time to find their offensive game. Hopefully Monday's game was a step in the right direction on that front as well. Though the Blues closed the gap late, don't let that cloud your judgement. The Kings were a dominant team until the game was decided. After the game was for all intents and purposes over, the Blues made their mark. However, when the game was in the balance, the Kings dominated. In score-close situations, the Kings controlled two-thirds of all shot attempts. Don't forget that the Blues are an excellent possession team, either. Very solid game for LA.
The Numbers

  • Extra Skater
  • Our stuff is or will be down there. I don't have the Corsi table from Robert, but I'm sure he'll stop by to provide it for us when he gets the chance. /