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Kings Gameday: Unqualified Success!

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Los Angeles Kings
@ Chicago Blackhawks

Sunday, Dec 19, 2010, 4:00 PM PST
United Center

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A few things I liked about last night:

-The Kings out-depth'd the Predators. That doesn't happen very often.

-Alexei Ponikarovsky on the 4th line is stupid but he made the most of it with Trevor Lewis and Kevin Westgarth. Poni out against 4th line players is like the kid from Varsity who gets sent down to JV for a little while. I think he had the puck on his stick for about 75% of the time he was on the ice last night.

-I've really liked Oscar Moller so far but I'm just not sure how the Kings keep him up when Marco Sturm arrives. There's no point in keeping him around on the 4th line if Terry Murray insists on playing Kevin Westgarth; plus, I think the Kings would be better off playing a defensively solid Brad Richardson over Moller. This has been a good trial for Moller, though; I think he realizes now what he needs to do to be an NHL player and he's doing it. At least now the Kings now they're in good shape if they don't re-sign Justin Williams.

-The Kings can afford to have depth distributed throughout their line-up only if Anze Kopitar keeps up his outstanding defensive play. He didn't have a point last night but he was stirring the drink all over the ice. When the Kings have a dominant first line like they've had the last few games, they cause the other team to give up line matching down the line-up in exchange for matching up that top line. I always like playing the Blues or the Predators because they're basically the exact same as the Kings except they don't have a player like Kopitar. He's usually the difference.

-Nice game, Bernier.

-Shane O'Brien was -3. I always enjoy making him look like a dick.

-When Marco Sturm starts playing and Brad Richardson comes back, I'd like to see the following:

Brown-Kopitar-Williams

Sturm-Stoll-Smyth

Poni-Handzus-Simmonds

Clifford-Lewis-Richardson/Westgarth

-Kopitar looks great with his current linemates so I wouldn't mess with it. Sturm gives the 2nd line the speed option that they need. Smyth usually carries the puck in and it's not like he can shoot anyway so he'd be fine on the right side.

-The Kings are not as bad as they looked on Thursday.

-The Kings are not as good as they looked last night.

-The season is long indeed, and perilous too. Every game is important.

Prediction: Kings win, 4-3. Goals by Brown, Johnson, Poni and Stoll.