Even though the Los Angeles Kings could have won each of the 4 games played in the Western Conference semi finals against the San Jose Sharks, and honest look at the series says that the Kings more likely could be out of the playoffs already. Thanks to Jonathan Quick‘s version of routine goaltending the Kings are still in the series.
After getting thoroughly outplayed in San Jose, Darryl Sutter has seen enough and done more than just some small scale tinkering with is lines. Sutter knocked over the Jenga tower, and is starting from scratch.
As reported by the LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, the lines heading into this pivotal game 5 at home will be:
Line 1 == Kyle Clifford – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
In Clifford’s second game in the second round he is moved up to play with Kopitar and Williams, but Sutter was quick not to call it a promotion. They Kings need production. Period. But where is Dustin Brown?
Line 2 == Dustin Penner – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
This is not an unfamiliar line since the trio played together for much of the tear through last postseason. But they haven’t played much together this season. Penner needs to be a dominant forechecker to give some space to Carter who has been the only consistent goal scoring option all season. Still, where is Brown?
Line 3 == Dwight King – Trevor Lewis – Dustin Brown
On the third line is where we find the message Sutter sent, if a message was sent at all. The Captain Dustin Brown has not controlled the puck or the forecheck all series. Brown was a menace last year, bearing down on the goal crease faster than a superhero movie on the American public. And Dwight King has been a big inneffective body. Playing oppostite each other those two flints need to catch fire somehow.
Line 4 == Tyler Toffoli – Colin Fraser – Brad Richardson
Suprisingly when the Kings need offense, Sutter moved one of his best offensive options down to the fourth line. That does not mean Tyler Toffoli or anyone else will stay where they practiced the last two days at home. But Toffoli can be a difference aker, and Colin Fraser needs to not take dumb penalties like the 2 he took in game 4.
But the lines won’t matter much if the King’s centermen are ineffective in the faceoff circle. That s a category the Kings continue to struggle in and will doom them if it continues. The Kings miss Jarrett Stoll like Raffi Torres missed being suspended.