Kings vs. Blue Jackets Game Grades

Special teams excels, defense is still not the problem, and the 4th line was the Kings' best.

The Kings relied heavily on their defensive coverage in this one to keep Columbus to the outside and suppress opportunities. Through 2 periods, Columbus had only registered two quality scoring chances.

Their top forwards struggled to generate shots at even strength but their depth lines, namely the 4th, allowed the Kings to stay above water. Sutter made a key switch late in the first. He decided to move Penner up to the Carter line and Clifford down to the Stoll line. It was with the Stoll line that Clifford created a key turnover and potted his 2nd goal of the season.

For more check out Eric's recap.

Now let's take a look at how the team graded out overall.

Game Grades

Forward Lines

  • 1st line (Gagne-Kopitar-Brown), Grade: C. Matched primarily against Columbus' 2nd line and struggled offensively against the relatively easy matchup. They did start more than twice as many of their shifts in the defensive zone than in the offensive zone, so Sutter was using them in more of a shutdown capacity. Still their play in their zone wasn't as strong as we've been accustomed to seeing. Dustin Brown is usually very active in the beating people to pucks and carrying them out and starting the rush. Not so tonight, as he was rarely able to get control of the puck. Anze Kopitar was the most active of the 3 but also turned it over twice.
  • 2nd Line (Clifford/Penner-Carter-Williams), Grade: C. Sutter juggled the left side of the line and Penner actually saw slightly more time on it. He moved Penner up from the bottom line late in the first and pretty much stayed with it the rest of the game-even after Clifford's big breakaway goal in the 2nd. Penner had a great game in the offensive end. He gained the zone on several occasions by carrying the puck in and helped generate a lot of shots. His defensive zone coverage was also improved-the team didn't allow a single scoring chance when he was on ice. His puck handling in the defensive end was a little sloppy though as he did turn the puck over once and at times struggled to get the puck out. Still all-in-all encouraging stuff from Penner. The line itself was hard-matched against Columbus' top line and Sutter gave them copious amounts of offensive zone starts. Although the line was more effective with Penner , they weren't difference makers. Carter, who usually great in the defensive end, struggled to get pucks out and had 2 turnovers. Offensively, he had 0 shots at even strength.
  • 3rd Line (King-Richards-Nolan), Grade: C. Matched against the Blue Jackets' 2nd and 3rd lines. Played to a draw in pretty much all areas of the game. They struggled to generate offense because they defaulted to playing dump and chase too often and had a hard time retrieving the puck.
  • 4th Line (Penner/Clifford-Stoll-Lewis), Grade: A. The Blue Jackets rolled 3 lines and thus the Kings 4th line saw a lot of time against the 1st line as well. Sutter used them in a shutdown role, giving them 0 starts in the offensive zone. Given their tough, shutdown role they did a great job of denying shots and scoring chances. Perpetually under the radar, Trevor Lewis had an excellent game. When he was on the ice Columbus was unable to attempt a single shot at the net. Conversely, the Kings were able to attempt several shots and also registered 2 scoring chances. Stoll had his best game in a while as he was very proficient at getting pucks out and moving play forward.

Defensive Pairings

  • Ellerby-Doughty, Grade: B+. Ellerby took a small step back in that he had 2 bad defensive zone turnovers, but still flashed some signs of being a very good puck mover. Doughty had another good game. He was effective in denying the zone and was quick to the puck when Columbus did have control. He wasn't able to create room for himself and carry the puck up ice. He was more of a passer but was still very effective. Not a dominant performance, but very solid.
  • Scuderi-Voynov, Grade: B+.Voynov was the Kings most proficient puck mover. Nearly half of his touches in the defensive end resulted in successfully getting the play out into transition. Scuderi defers to allowing Voynov to move the puck to an extreme degree. He only attempts to move the play forward when absolutely necessary--and rightly so. Overall, the Kings were able to control the action and suppress quality opportunities with the pair on the ice.
  • Muzzin-Drewiske, Grade B-.Saw sheltered minutes but excelled against the easy matchups in terms of denying opportunities and keeping the play in the offensive end. A lot of that was due to some help from the forwards who did a great job in the defensively-- making the pair's job easier. They only combined for two touches that resulted in the Kings getting the puck out of the zone. But for their part, they did keep chances down to an absolute minimum. They still have a lot of room for improvement, but neither of their performances will warrant a scratch in favor of the newly arrived Andrew Campbell.

Power Play

  • Grade: A. The power play unit was a big factor in the Kings' getting the win. The Kings had nearly 9 minutes of PP time and recorded a goal on 5 shots and 5 scoring chances.

Penalty Kill

  • Grade: A. Columbus had 8 minutes of PP time and only managed 2 shots and one scoring chance--none of which resulted in a goal.

  • Grade: B. Again the Kings stellar defensive work resulted in an easy night for Jonathan Bernier. He only faced 4 difficult shots and saved 3 of them. For the game his SV% was .923 on only 13 shots. Another solid, but unspectacular effort. Right now, though, it is tough to ask for any more than that from him.

Overall Team Grade: B+.

  • Special teams and solid defense are what got the Kings this victory.
  • Credit Columbus coach Todd Richards with an assist. He decided to give Jared Boll some serious playing time in the third period in a two goal game. Hmm, our PK is getting killed and we're down two goals? I know what. Let's get Jared "2nd in the NHL in PIM" Boll out there as much as possible to ignite our team!
  • One would have liked to see at least one of the Kings forward units have more of an inspired effort offensively against some pretty soft competition.
  • Going into the next game, it'll be interesting to see if Bernier gets another start. Also, is Penner officially out of the doghouse and will he be featured on the 2nd line again? Will the power play carry their solid effort from this one into their next game?


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 - Team Totals

Period Shot Attempts For Shot Attempts Against Shot Attempt +/- Scoring Chances For Scoring Chances Against Scoring Chances +/-
1st 12 6 6 3 1 2
2nd 9 5 4 4 0 4
3rd 10 8 2 1 3 -2
Total 31 19 12 8 4 4

For in-game scoring chance and shot attempt updates:

How would you grade the Kings' effort last night against the Blue Jackets?