The previous post mentioned the Kings’ challenge of playing on back-to-back nights. Clearly, that was on Darryl Sutter’s mind last night, as the Kings’ ice time was distributed very evenly. In 5-on-5 play, Anze Kopitar’s line played roughly 14-plus minutes, Mike Richards’ line played 12 minutes, Andrei Loktionov’s line played 13 minutes and Colin Fraser’s line played 11 minutes. Sutter has regularly stressed the importance of being able to roll four lines since he took over the Kings.
SUTTER: “We’re trying to get some shifts away from Kopi’s line, just to make them more effective. That only works if other guys are going. I think the game before that, Mike’s line really struggled, so 5-on-5 they didn’t play much. If Fraz can keep his line going and Lokti can keep his line going, it’s still something we’re learning here. It’s a rite of passage thing. I don’t know if it’s the `star’ thing or what, or a history thing, but they [top players] don’t automatically get to play.
“The schedule demands (balance), so it is important. It’s a big difference for some of these Western Conference teams. If you don’t have that, if you’re only playing nine or 10 forwards and four defensemen, it might look good tonight but it won’t look too good tomorrow night. So, as much emphasis as you put on every game, you still have to manage it properly.”