After an opening game loss in which they were out-shot 42-29, the Kings appear to be shaking things up at forward.
Anze Kopitar was reunited with usual linemates Dustin Brown and Justin Williams during Thursday’s morning skate — Kopitar spent last game with Jeff Carter and Kyle Clifford (and, eventually, Dustin Penner) — and head coach Darryl Sutter continued to tinker with his left wing alignment.
Sutter explained why after the skate.
“I didn’t like the way, quite honestly, our left wings matched up the other night,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’ve coached against Ken [Hitchcock] a lot and we know how he likes to use his matchups.”
As LA Kings Insider notes, Sutter’s left wings “are often interchangeable” with Penner, Clifford and Dwight King routinely shuttling up and down the lineup.
On Thursday, King was with Carter and Mike Richards while Penner was with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis.
Clifford was on the fourth line with Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan — an interesting development, given Sutter called out his fourth line after Tuesday’s loss.
“Some of the boys that play on our fourth line have to play like big boys,” he told Helene Elliott of the LA Times.
This was likely in response to his unit being largely outplayed by St. Louis’ CPR line — Adam Cracknell, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves — who combined for 18 hits and set a physical tone LA’s fourth line failed to match.