Time to shift line combinations? - LA Kings Insider

Having scored five regulation goals in their last four games, will the Kings shake up their lines for the second time under Darryl Sutter? It seems unlikely at this moment, if only because there is only one game before the week-long break, but there’s certainly been a lack of balance of late. It doesn’t take any great insight to note that the first line (Brown-Kopitar-Williams) has excelled while the second line (Penner-Richards-Stoll) and the third line (Richardson-Loktionov-Lewis) have contributed next to nothing. Sutter seems inclined to keep things the way he set them before that home game against Washington…

SUTTER: “When we did it, it was more to jump-start getting Kopi and Brownie going, and Willy, since I’ve been here he’s probably been our best forward, both ways and all situations and all that. Mike (Richards) has been up and down, and Stolly. And I take responsibility, because I’ve moved them around. So I’d rather leave him and center and kind of let him play through it, and those kids didn’t have quite as good a game last night. A little heavier (Colorado) lineup, and bigger bodies, and they didn’t quite handle it as well as they should have.’’

Richards, in particular, is an interesting sidenote. For a long stretch of this season, Richards led the Kings in goals, but he has now been passed by Kopitar. In the 16 games since he returned from his head injury, Richards has three goals and three assists. Is it over-simplifying things, I asked Sutter, to say that Richards hasn’t quite been the same player since his return?

SUTTER: “I think the first three or four games, he was really good. I remember asking him, after that first game, `How did you feel?’ and he goes, `Oh, I didn’t expect to play 20 minutes.’ But, you know, that’s the situation that we’re in too. He struggled last night, but the line struggled. You look at Ottawa’s lineup tomorrow, and in a lot of ways it’s similar to what we saw last night. You can talk about the two high-end lines, but their so-called third line is big bodies, and I think they’ve probably got 30 goals, Smith, Foligno and Neil. They’re big guys that play hard. So we’ve got to find that matchup in there somehow.’’

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.