Kings @ Bruins: Grades and Analysis
The Kings had a scheduled game against the Bruins on MLK Day, but decided to take the day off regardless. Eric has a recap for you here.
- 1st line (Brown - Kopitar - Carter), F. A really poor effort from the Kings top line is what really drove this game to a loss. They were dominated in the possession game by the Bruins top 6. They had a difficult time gaining the zone and when they did they had a hard time gaining it with control. Anze Kopitar is normally the Kings best forward in the neutral zone and he was held to only one successful zone entry and it was a dump-in. They also had trouble creating offense as Carter recorded 2 chances while his linemates put up goose eggs. Their sole positive was that they were solid in their own zone, having allowed only two scoring chances.
- 2nd line (King - Stoll - Lewis), C. They were able to log a lot of zone time in what were pretty easy minutes. They ended up way ahead in possession and especially dominating the Bruins third line. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), they generated very little in the way of offense despite getting only one defensive zone draw and being matched against the bottom six. Depth scoring is a problem for LA and this line isn’t helping. On the other hand they were solid defensively despite being on for a goal against. They only allowed 4 shots and two scoring chances in second line minutes. /
- 3rd line (Frattin - Richards - Williams), B. It was a real head-shaker as to why this line didn’t get more minutes. They drew a tough assignment, seeing their time exclusively against the top 6, yet were able to push the needle forward in possession. They were the only line able to consistently gain the zone with control of the puck. Unfortunately, they also had a hard time producing consistent offense. Even though they were on-ice for a goal, they were also only able to produce one quality scoring chance. The main thing Tyler Toffoli brought to the Kings was someone who wasn’t shy about shooting the puck. Right now, the 2 and 3rd units are sorely missing his presence because of that.
- 4th line (Clifford - Fraser - Nolan), D. They gave up a lot of zone time but didn’t give up any scoring chances. A low event game, but you’d like for them to be able to be some around even in possession. /
- 1st pairing (Muzzin/Mitchell/Regehr - Doughty), B. Darryl Sutter is obviously unhappy with the left side of his defensive corps right now. He shuffled Doughty’s partners all game, yet Muzzin still saw the most time with him. The Kings were productive offensively when Doughty was on. They logged more shots when he was on than anyone else. Doughty also had a strong defensive game, yielding 0 scoring chances but he wasn’t able to do anything in terms of pushing the puck up ice. He only was able to gain the zone twice and both were dumps. The Kings are at their best when Doughty is dominating the neutral zone and you have to wonder if inconsistent play from his partners is negatively affecting his ability to do so. /
- 2nd pairing (Mitchell/Regehr - Voynov), F. Woof. They were parked in the defensive zone pretty much the entire game. They were out-shot 1 to 10 and out-chanced 1 to 5 when they were on ice at even strength. In their defense, they did have pretty tough minutes. They received 0 offensive zone draws and saw most of their time against the Bruins top line. Still, giving up copious amounts of zone time, shots and scoring chances is far from an ideal result. /
- 3rd pairing (Mitchell - Martinez), A. Alec Martinez plays defense in a way that old school coaches like Darryl Sutter just cannot get behind. It is unfortunate because Martinez is quietly having his best season, but not getting very much ice time. The Kings were most productive offensively when Martinez was on ice. He only saw 10:36 of even strength minutes, yet LA logged 6 scoring chances in that time. Martinez didn’t see soft minutes either, having received only 2 offensive zone draws and saw most of his time against the Bergeron line.
- Power Play, D. The Kings power play is just a total mess right now. Despite scoring a goal, they only managed 3 chances, 5 shots and also gave up a short-handed goal in 7+ minutes of pp time. /
- Penalty Kill, B+. In 6 minutes of PK time, they were pretty decent despite yielding a (very savable) goal. They only allowed 3 shots and 3 scoring chance in that time. /
Jonathan Quick, D.
- Quick was only able to save 5 out of 7 difficult shots and also allowed a bad goal on a PK to Torey Krug on a shot from near the boards. Quick’s been very solid since returning from injury and this one was just a one of those games. The Kings have the best save percentage in the NHL at .927 and are on pace to post the 5th best mark in NHL history. I guess we’ll see whether or not those numbers are sustainable as the season wears on.
Overall Team Performance, D.
A poor save percentage and the inability to create more quality chances are what killed the Kings in this one. Also, their top line getting out-played didn’t help matters. It’d be a safe to bet that when Anze Kopitar ends up on the wrong side of the puck in a close game, the results are not going to be good.
Despite having league leading possession number the Kings have plenty of holes to plug. They need offensive production from their depth lines, consistent play from the left side of their defense and to figure out what’s going on with their eye sore of a power play. The demotion of Tyler Toffoli, who can help with 2 out of those 3, is becoming more of a head scratcher with each passing game.