The LA Kings saw their four-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday against Pittsburgh, losing 4-3 in overtime. They did extend their point streak, however, to eight games.
The LA Kings controlled the shot share (60.7% CF%) and the expected goals (60.0% xGF) pretty much from puck drop. LA held a 30-14 edge in shot attempts, though, the Penguins limited the Kings to just seven high-danger chances. The 30 scoring chances for the Kings were their second-most on the season and the 14 scoring chances allowed were the second-fewest. It’s hard to be upset with how the team played at 5-on-5.
In the third, Jake Guentzel put the Pens back on top with a goal off a great feed from Crosby just 37 seconds into the final frame. Fiala would tie the game shortly after.
Brian Rust had his first overtime goal disallowed after an offside review but made no mistake moments later with a wraparound goal.
There wasn’t much special teams play in this game as both teams went scoreless on the power play. The Kings went 0-for-3, generating ten shot attempts and three high-danger chances in their six minutes.
Pittsburgh went 0-for-2, also with ten shot attempts and three high-danger chances in four minutes of PP time.
Ironically enough, while neither team scored a power-play goal, they each scored a short-handed goal. Anze Kopitar made a heads-up play to a streaking Carl Grundstrom in the first period to tie the game at one, while in the second Lars Eller took advantage of a Kevin Fiala turnover in the neutral zone and beat Pheonix Copley over the left shoulder.
5-on-5 Shot Attempts
Every forward line had a CF% of at least 55% – as noted above, the 5-on-5 play in this one was heavily tilted toward LA. The PL Dubois line led the LA Kings with a 66.7% CF%.
Mikey Anderson and Drew Doughty struggled for the second straight night. Together they had a 39.3% CF% and in the last two games, it’s been just 38.1%.
5-on-5 Shot Quality
The Dubois line has come under some scrutiny in recent games, but they were very good in this one. They had a 78.4% xGF% in just over ten and a half minutes together at 5-on-5.
Englund and Spence had an on-ice xGF% of 83.8%. Dominant, again.
Anderson and Doughty again struggled, holding just a 30.7% xGF%. Like their shot-share, the expected goals have been brutal the past two games at just 20.2%. Most of their time was spent against the Crosby line, who do tend to control play.
5-on-5 Shot Contributions
Blake Lizotte led the team in overall shot contributions with nine. His six-shot attempts tied him with Adrian Kempe and Matt Roy for the team lead. At times in this game, it seemed that Lizotte and Carl Grundstrom (five shot contributions) were playing short-handed. Their linemate, Trevor Lewis, managed one shot attempt despite his linemates combining for 14 shot contributions.
Vladislav Gavrikov and Anze Kopitar each had four shot assists to lead in that department.
We continue to see Kevin Fiala much too low on this list. He had only three shot contributions at 5-on-5 and his linemate, Alex Laferriere, mustered only one. That line did control play, but something doesn’t seem to be clicking.
Between The Pipes
There genuinely wasn’t much that was negative on Thursday, but Pheonix Copley was unfortunately one of them. Of the four goals he allowed, three of them were, at the very least, stoppable. Two of them were wraparounds in what was an overall underwhelming performance. He made just 16 saves on 20 shots (.800 SV%) and Evolving Hockey had him with a -1.5 GSAx.
It has not been a good start to the season for Copley. While he was a big part of last year’s success, only two goalies have a worse GSAx in the NHL this season. Through four games, Copley is 1-0-2 with a 4.58 goals-against average and a .792 save percentage. It might be time for a change with the LA Kings’ backup netminder.
The LA Kings are back at it on Saturday against Pennsylvania’s other team, the Philadelphia Flyers. The two teams met last Saturday in Philly, with the Kings winning 5-0.
Main Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez, Getty Images