There’s no way of knowing whether Kings coach Darryl Sutter will stick with his old line combinations and defense pairs or whether he’ll shuffle the deck for Wednesday’s home game against the Ottawa Senators. The Kings sure had a different look during Tuesday’s practice. The only line that looked as it usually does was the Kings’ top grouping of left wing Dustin Brown, center Anze Kopitar and right wing Justin Williams.
Otherwise, it looked as if Sutter tossed the names in a hat and pulled them out, which he said actually he did in the wake of the Kings’ 3-1 loss Monday to the New York Rangers. He also explained he believed several unnamed players would take Tuesday’s practice off. When they decided to go ahead and skate, Sutter moved his pieces around the chessboard until he came up with something new and different.
Left wing Daniel Carcillo skated with center Mike Richards and right wing Jeff Carter. Kyle Clifford was teamed with Trevor Lewis and Matt Frattin. Colin Fraser skated with Jarret Stoll and Jordan Nolan. Dwight King appeared to be the odd-man out.
The defense pairs: Alec Martinez skated with Matt Greene (replacing Jake Muzzin), Willie Mitchell was with Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty was alongside Robyn Regehr. Muzzin was paired with Keaton Ellerby, an indication Muzzin might not play Wednesday.
The Kings (1-2) have scored only seven goals in three games to start the season, including three while on the power play. Their lack of five-on-five scoring is a source of some concern as they prepared to face the Senators (1-0-1).
“Our five-on-five play needs to improve,” Williams said. “It’s nonexistent right now. Certainly, we need to get dirty. We need to become as a whole, put our work before skill and get dirty and greasy, bang some in, and rebound.”