It’s been a difficult, but rather productive, last couple weeks for Anze Kopitar, who has three goals and four assists in his last five games. During the span, Kopitar has taken a handful of big hits but has stayed on the ice for all but the second half of the third period against Dallas, and for a practice on Monday. Kopitar was given a mandatory day off from practice by the coaching staff.
KOPITAR: “It was great. It’s one of those things where you get those days, and different players get them. Even when the team was skating, I was doing a little workout, so it wasn’t completely a `laying in my bed’ day. I felt pretty good last night, and I thought it was a good move by the coaches to let me have that day.’’
In general, coach Darryl Sutter is making more of an effort to keep Kopitar fresh. Under Terry Murray, Kopitar played at least 20 minutes in 27 of 29 games this season. So far, under Sutter, Kopitar has been under 20 minutes in six of 14 games. That’s not a dissatisfaction with Kopitar’s game. Sutter has been trimming Kopitar’s penalty-kill minutes in an attempt to keep him fresher for 5-on-5 play.
KOPITAR: “I’ve been still killing penalties, but he did talk to me about getting a short shift in. He doesn’t want to sit me on the bench for two full minutes, because it’s kind of tough to get going again. But he did specifically mention that I have to make sure I don’t get caught out there. I’ve been killing (penalties) with Brownie for the last little while. He just emphasized that, on every clear that we get, even if it’s (after) 15 seconds or 20 seconds, we’re going to get off the ice. Darryl has been going with our line right after the penalty kill, pretty consistently, so I definitely want to stay fresh.’’