Found April 29, 2012 on
Fox Sports West:
Los Angeles Kings
St. Louis Blues
San Jose Sharks
If there was ever a simple formula towards winning a playoff series, Darryl Sutter could write a book about it. "Sutter's Law" would be the shortest book ever written.
"Goaltenders, special teams, top players, unsung heroes and discipline," he revealed in a memorable, pithy quote last week. "Write it down and don't forget it."
The Kings are doing just fine in the unsung heroes department. Matt Greene joined Dustin Penner, Trevor Lewis, Brad Richardson and the handful of other players not named Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar or Mike Richards in etching out a clutch performance in what is closer to resembling a playoff "run" for a team that won only its second playoff series in 19 years last week.
Greene's shorthanded game-winning goal in which he traveled the length of the ice to chip in a Brown rebound over Brian Elliott's shoulder was the second shorthanded goal by a defenseman in Kings playoff history and the first since Rob Blake in 1993.
"I think it was a speed play up the ice," Sutter said. "We talk about pressure as much as we can on the penalty kill in certain situations, and it's awesome to see Matt Greene go 200 feet to the blue paint to score."
It was Los Angeles' third postseason shorthanded goal and put an exclamation point on a three-for-three penalty killing effort. Apparently this team grades highly in Sutter's special teams criteria as well.
"Other than goaltending, it's probably been the best part of our game consistently all year," Brown said about the team's shorthanded play. "We have a good game plan, guys are really comfortable in playing that, and it also helps that we've had some pairs here that P.K. together. Me and Kopi P.K.'d together for five, six years, so it almost becomes instinctwe know where each other are going to be. That's where it really helps closing down lanes and also on the other end of getting offensive chances."
As for the goaltending portion of Sutter's Law, the Kings once again received a stellar performance by Jonathan Quick, who stopped 28 of 29 shots and was better than Brian Elliott across the ice, not that the Blues' goaltender could be faulted in the slightest for his 59 minutes of effective netminding.
While discipline was an issue for a short period of time when Dwight King ran Alex Pietrangelo into the boards late in the second period his hit warranted a two-minute boarding minor, and it is possible that King could receive a fine or in an unlikely event a one-game suspension Los Angeles was shorthanded only three times Saturday night. The Kings have received fewer power plays than their opposition in only two of six playoff games thus far.
The one area where Los Angeles could show some minor improvement is under Sutter's "top players" criteria. While Brown has been a dynamic force in all six playoff games, and Kopitar, Richards and Williams have provided quality minutes in their two-way games that haven't completely been reflected in their stats, there's still some room for Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty to add their own contributions to the scoresheet and playoff effort. Doughty has made tremendous strides in his defensive game, and while Carter has spread out opposing matchups, he's still looking for his first goal since March 20.
So how has the team been graded thus far in Sutter's five point plan? Early returns have the Kings at 4-0 on the road and 5-1 overall in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We probably gained confidence, but we were a pretty confident group going in," Brown said. "I think a lot of players who have been in this room for a while and have been playing together for a while, so we understood the situation we were in. We also understand the type of team that we have. Knocking off the top seed, Vancouver, obviously adds a little bit of confidence, but I think we all understand that St. Louis is a different type of beast, and it's going to be a real hard series."
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ST. LOUIS -- A few weeks ago, before the Kings began their playoff journey, center Jarret Stoll said that as a young player with Edmonton in 2006, he and his No. 8-seeded Oilers teammates gained a lot of confidence from upsetting the No. 1-seeded Detroit Red Wings. Those Oilers went on to the Stanley Cup finals that spring, losing in seven games to Carolina.
Now that the No. 8-seeded...
LA KINGS 40-27-1595 pts, 8th in Western Conference, 13th in NHLvsST. LOUIS BLUES49-22-11109 pts, 2nd in Western Conference, 3rd in NHL
Kings Won Regular Season Series 3-1
Kings Lead Playoff Series 1-0
6:00pm, Scottrade CenterSt. Louis, MOCNBC
BEST PLAYER TO WEAR BOTH COLORS THAT PLAYEDIN THE LA KINGS 2001 2ND ROUND PLAYOFF SERIES:
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ST. LOUIS St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could return to the lineup tonight, coach Ken Hitchcock said Monday.
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