Kings haven't produced much offense lately. A couple lineup moves may change that.
By JONATHAN DAVISFS West
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — After being limited to one goal in each of the last two games against the San Jose Sharks,
Kings coach Darryl Sutter looks like he is ready to shake up his line combinations for the pivotal Game 5 on Thursday night at Staples Center.
“One goal is not going to win us many games,” said forward Justin Williams. “Plain and simple. Scorers got to score. Got to play better. Got to create more offense. We’re not going to win every game one-nothing. What did Sutter say — 3-2 league. It’s been 2-1 lately, because we haven’t gotten any goals.”
The line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Williams have combined for just 11 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs, just two more points than Mike Richards has on his own.
“Quite honestly, that line has struggled for two series,” Sutter said.
With the season now coming down to a best of three, Sutter talked after Wednesday’s practice about what the Kings need to do to generate some offense.
“I think we need four lines with some balance," he said. "Other than Richie (Mike Richards) and Jeff (Carter) we really haven’t had anyone give us any energy or continuity.”
The most significant lineup change appears to be Brown moving down to the third line where he will join Trevor Lewis and Dwight King, while Kyle Clifford will see increased ice time as he joins Kopitar and Williams.
“We’ve scored two goals in 120 plus minutes. I’m not surprised by any changes in the lineup,” Brown said. “If the switches that we made today help us win tomorrow (Thursday), that is what we do here.”
“We’re obviously starved for goals, and there’s a reason for that,” Williams said. “Not enough net pressure, not enough traffic, not enough rebounds, not enough going to the net with a purpose. Kyle brings all of those, and if we are to play together tomorrow, we’re going to need to do that to get results.
Dustin Penner will be reunited with Carter and Richards. Penner is coming off a solid Game 4 effort. Denied of his third goal of the playoffs because of a quick whistle, he was second on the team in hits with six and created multiple scoring opportunities.
Now with the scene shifting back to Staples Center for Game 5, the Kings will look to build on their 12-game winning streak on home ice. In fact, home teams in the playoffs this year are a dominant 41-19.
“We have home-ice advantage. We worked all season for it and now is the time to make it worth it,” Williams said.
“We have a pretty good home mentality,” Brown said. "This time of year, it’s more about your will. We need to use the energy from the building in the right way to help us be successful."