Is the Kings’ second line starting to come around offensively? It’s a bit difficult to judge the Dustin Penner, Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll line in total, because often Darryl Sutter has been using that trio as his top defensive line against the opposition’s most-talented forwards as much as possible. Still, that line includes three veteran players, all of whom are proven 20-to-30-goal scorers in the NHL, and the production hasn’t been there of late. Entering last night’s game, in the 11 games since Sutter made his wholesale lineup changes, Penner had two goals and two assists, Richards had one goal and two assists and Stoll had one goal and one assist.
The line came up with a huge goal last night in Tampa, though, to give the Kings a 3-1 lead late in the second period. A rebound from Richards’ wraparound attempt found Penner in the slot, and Penner scored on a skillful shot. Stoll also got an assist. Penner and Sutter both talked about the effort of the line…
PENNER: “We’ve been good on the defensive side of things. We’ve been playing against, I think, top lines and we’ve good that way, but we haven’t been able to bring the offense. Hopefully last night was a sign of things to come.’’
SUTTER: “Richie [Richards] and Stolly were really good in Carolina, and really good in St. Louis too. So it’s good to see them get rewarded. They’re both important guys, penalty killing, faceoffs, all those things. We’re just trying to get Dustin to keep pace with them.’’