Kings-Blues Game 4 Preview: Morning People, Start Your Engines
IN: Ian Cole, Ryan Reaves
OUT: Jaroslav Halak (ankle), Jason Arnott (lower body), Carlo Colaiacovo, Crombeen (Blues); Kyle Clifford, Andrei Loktionov (Kings)
Enemy reading: St. Louis Game Time
3-0 series lead. Great, but irrelevant. Right, Darryl?
Hitchcock is trying another round of shake-ups, looking for more size and speed to get around LA's "beef." Young defenseman Ian Cole is in for Colaiacovo (who was caught up ice for Dwight King's goal), and Ryan Reaves replaces Crombeen. The coach stated that their goal was to reduce their time spent killing penalties, but Cole is notorious for taking them, and Reaves will wind up in the box if he tries to beat someone up. Let's hope the Kings' power play can wake up and make them pay again.
Dustin Brown noted that teams have been taking runs at Drew Doughty "left, right, and center." Now Hitchcock singled Doughty out as the best player in the series. The target on his back isn't going anywhere. I know some Blues fans are still up in arms about Dwight King, but can we stop pretending St. Louis players have been angels? Quick and Kopitar have been targeted as well. Expect more of the same today. Desperation will be extreme.
Aside from Doughty (who was a standout), the Kings didn't have a strong showing possession-wise in Game 3. Much of that had to do with score effects -- the Blues' shot attempts spiked in the third as they made a push to get back in it -- but puck management could be better at times. Sutter also rolled his top lines out with little concern for match-ups. Hitchcock is going to make adjustments, so everyone will have to be better.
Puck drops at noon. Can this early start time finally be a friend? Load up on espresso, and let's do it.