Two-fold reason for bottom-six change
As noted, the Kings will do some bottom-six shifting tonight, as Kevin Westgarth goes into the lineup in place of Trevor Lewis. The reason, Terry Murray said, is two-fold. First, the Kings want Westgarth in the lineup — this will be his sixth game — against a physical Pittsburgh team. The domino effect is that a forward needs to come out, and in Murray’s view, Lewis has not been effective enough, and he will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Lewis does not have a point in 12 games this season, and after today’s very optional morning skate — only Westgarth, the scratched players and Jonathan Bernier skated — Murray talked about his reason for the lineup change.
MURRAY: “Watching Pittsburgh play, that’s the motivation. They’ve got about five guys there, plus MacIntyre on the sideline, that you have to be heads-up to.
“Lewie and I had a talk, probably a couple weeks ago. My meeting at that time — it’s kind of confidential, I don’t like to talk about 1-on-1 meetings — but it was about being better. It has improved. It has gotten better. He’s an important penalty-killer. He’s one of our go-to guys in the penalty-kill look. On the other part of it, I still want and demand more, particularly on the offensive part of the game. I know he’s the center for the fourth line, but his numbers are not too bad, when you go back through his resume. As a player that is playing in that role, the goals normally are real greasy, hard goals. I need to see those once in a while. I know he’s not going to put those numbers up every couple games, but definitely there’s a time and a place, and you’ve just got to reall compete harder in those blue-paint situations.’’