It appears Anze Kopitar will once again be between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis for Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
Kopitar, L.A.’s leading scorer during the regular season, will be skating on what — at least according to the lineup card — is the Kings’ third line when they face the Blackhawks tonight.
Jarret Stoll, normally the club’s third-line center, will be in Kopitar’s spot on the top line between Dustin Brown and Justin Williams.
Here’s how Kings head coach Darryl Sutter explained the move:
COACH SUTTER: We just moved Kopy (Kopitar) more into a quieter role, that’s all. Wasn’t really Jarret.
QUESTION: A quieter role meaning going up not the top six, the lower six?
COACH SUTTER: Yeah. And, quite honestly, you’re playing so many games in a short period of time, if you break the minutes down again, Kopy still played 20 minutes the other night. Everybody’s top players still play.
Kopitar has struggled to produce this postseason, scoring just seven points in 16 games. He doesn’t have a single point in the Western Conference finals and only has three shots on goal in three games.
In putting Kopitar with King and Lewis, Sutter looks as though he’s trying to free the big Slovenian from matchups against Chicago’s top six. The ‘Hawks have been able to focus more attention on Kopitar with Mike Richards out of the lineup.