Redemption for L.A.’s third line, once called “the worst” in hockey

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Interesting anecdote here from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail:

In March, just as the Los Angeles Kings were about to mount the 11th-hour surge that got them into the playoffs, a veteran NHL scout sitting beside me in a press box predicted – apropos of nothing – that they had little chance in the postseason because of one key, but easy-to-overlook factor.

“They have the worst third line in hockey,” he said.

At the time, the line consisted of Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis.

And it makes sense why the scout said what he did. Stoll was an offensive enigma that struggled to his poorest output since his rookie year in 2003-04.

Lewis is a hard worker and bonafide grinder, but thought to be best suited to a fourth-line role.

Penner’s season was noteworthy because he injured himself eating pancakes and saw his divorce go viral (thanks, TMZ!) — he also earned the unique distinction of landing in two separate doghouses: Terry Murray’s and Darryl Sutter’s.

But that was in March. It’s now May, and what a difference a couple of months makes.

Penner has been moved off the line in place of Dwight King, the playoff scoring sensation tied for second on the team in goals (five). Stoll’s scoring hasn’t gone through the roof, but the timing of said scoring has been key — both his postseason goals were game-winners, including the series-clinching OT tally against Vancouver in Round 1.

And Lewis? He’s been a very pleasant surprise, registering six points in 13 games — a pretty wild development when you consider he had seven points in 72 regular season contests.

The highest praise for L.A.’s third line, though, comes from Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

“That King/Stoll/Lewis line has arguably been the best line of the series,” Doan told The Globe. “The level is so intense. There’s so little room, you have to have other guys step up. We need other guys to step up.

“Obviously, it would be big to get some scoring from everybody.”

No kidding. Just ask the Kings.