@ Los Angeles Kings
Saturday, Apr 2, 2011, 1:00 PM PDT
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Now I don't want to alarm you, but Terry Murray changed the lines. I know, I was shocked too.
At first glance, all I can say is... Bawr? Those lines are fucking weird. Upon further review, however... they're still fucking weird but I guess I can rationalize what Terry Murray is going for.
The Kings were beat in the last game because they didn't have a top line that could match the Sedins. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault matched the Sedin line with the Smyth-Lewis-Brown line, or in other words against our rookie center. Ryan Kesler was given the job of playing even with the Ponikarovsky-Stoll-Simmonds line, while they gave no respect to the Kings' "top line" and put their 3rd and 4th lines against Penner-Handzus-Moller. Basically, the Kings didn't have a line that an opposing coach could look at and think, "I have to shut down those guys."
So now the Kings have put their best left winger, their best all-round center (maybe), and their best right winger on the same line. It isn't really that scary but it's the best possible offensive line the Kings can create with their current roster. The other pieces left over are kind of mish-mashed into lines that have some sort of identity. Smyth and Moller are probably are most creative wingers left and their matched with our best all-round center (maybe). Clifford-Richardson-Simmonds has speed to burn and was responsible for the sole goal on Thursday night.* Lewis & Ponikarovsky kind of get left out and thrown on the 4th line, but they both play a lot of special teams so they'll get their minutes. Lewis can also play right wing and I wouldn't be surprised if he takes Moller's spot in the 3rd period.
I don't know. Like I said, those lines are fucking weird. Sometimes it seems like Murray will purposely place players with teammates they are unfamiliar with to remind them that the system is what's important, not their linemates. Maybe that's what he's doing today. Maybe he's insane. Probably both.
*Thursday night marked the first of many, many times that I'll be saying, "You know, before Kyle Clifford almost killed that guy he was playing pretty well!"
My brother and I had a 10-minute conversation arguing over whether the Kings should play Bernier more down the stretch because he's been great lately and Jonathan Quick looked like he was swimming against the Canucks. Then we argued over whether Jonathan Bernier looks like Brandon Flowers from The Killers, then over if Bernier is better looking than Davis Drewiske. We ended up agreeing that Corey Perry looks like the Trillionage Sprout from Earthbound.
Prediction: Kings win, 4-2. Goals by Moller (x2), Penner & Doughty. Ryan Smyth scores on the Kings after Corey Perry mushroomizes him.