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Penguins vs. Kings Scouting Report

Friday, 11.4.2011 / 7:00 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Kings Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 4-2-1-9
Road: 4-1-2-10

WHEN: Nov. 5, 2011 - 10:30 pm   |   WHERE: Staples Center
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Los Angeles Kings
Home: 3-3-0-6

  Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings 






Anze Kopitar
C  -  #11
  6 Goals
  8 Assists
  14 Points
• The 24-year-old has been one of the league’s most consistent scorers since entering the league in 2006, recording 20-plus goals in each of his first five NHL campaigns – becoming the first King to do so since Luc Robitaille (1986-87 through 1993-94).

• Possesses terrific hands, creativity and skating ability while also being defensively responsible, averaging 2:29 shorthanded minutes per game while also seeing 3:30 minutes on the power play.

• Drafted by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft and would become the first-ever native of Slovenia to play in the NHL the following year.
Justin Williams
RW  -  #14
  3 Goals
  5 Assists
  8 Points
• Played just a combined 130 games over three seasons from 2007-10 but rebounded with a solid 2010-11 campaign, posting 22 goals and 57 points through 73 games – his first 20-tally year since 2006-07.

• The skilled veteran winger, who signed a four-year contract extension on Feb. 28, has proven himself capable of putting up big numbers when he’s healthy.

• Heated up around this time last year, posting 24 points (9G-15A) in 23-game span from Oct. 12 to Dec. 4, 2011 – including a career-high 11-game point streak from Oct. 23 to Nov. 17.
Jack Johnson
D  -  #3
  3 Goals
  2 Assists
  5 Points
• All three of the 25-year-old blueliner’s goals so far this season have been game winners (he had none in his career before this season).

• Is averaging a team-leading 24:06 minutes per game, playing 20-plus minutes in all 12 of the Kings’ games to date including a staggering 30:57 Oct. 15 at Philadelphia.

Invaluable asset on the power play – scoring 28 of his 36 points in 2010-11 on the man-advantage – and in shootouts, tying for first among NHL defensemen last season in shootout goals with six.
Last season the Los Angeles Kings proved to be a team capable of extreme highs and lows, and their 2011-12 campaign is shaping up to be the same. After starting the year with a stupendous 5-1-1 record, the Los Angeles Kings have now lost their last three games and have won just one of their last five.

Although he’s been in net for each of the Kings’ last three setbacks, goaltender Jonathan Quick has been playing some overall outstanding hockey for his team. Before the trio of losses (two regulation, one shootout) Quick went an impressive 6-0-1 through the first seven games of the season – becoming the first goalie in franchise history to post three-consecutive shutouts. The 25-year-old recorded a club-record shutout streak of 202:11 from the third period Oct. 15 through the first period Oct. 27.

The problem is that Quick’s magnificent play is masking the fact that the guys in front of him are having trouble finding the back of the net. The Kings scored two or less goals in their first 11 games and have been blanked twice in their last five contests – an interesting and unwelcome dilemma for a team that has seven players on their roster who scored 20-plus goals last season.

But despite their struggles, Los Angeles’ forward lineup is filled with gritty yet talented heart-and-soul players who go to work every night – and perhaps no two players better embody that identity than captain Dustin Brown and offseason acquisition Mike Richards. Richards, a familiar face to Penguins fans as former Flyers captain, and Brown – both offensively gifted forwards who play with an edge – have combined for 16 points in their last nine games while making up two-thirds of the team’s second line.

In addition, star center Anze Kopitar – who’s been the driving force behind the Kings’ offense each of the last four seasons – paces the squad with 14 points (6G-8A) through 12 games. He’s flanked on the top line by another former Flyer in Simon Gagne – who scored three goals and four assists in his first five games but was held pointless over the next five – and veteran winger Justin Williams, a two-time 30-goal scorer.

The Kings also boast one of the deepest back ends in the National Hockey League, led by two of the league’s best young offensive defensemen in Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. Doughty, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, became the second-youngest Norris Trophy finalist in league history in 2009-10 while Johnson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, quarterbacks the league’s fifth-ranked power play.
  • The Penguins conclude a three-game road stretch by facing the Los Angeles Kings in the two teams' only meeting this season at STAPLES Center. The Penguins have won four of the previous five meetings with the Kings, outscoring them 14-7 in the four victories.
  • Dating back to a 2-1 overtime win against Los Angeles on Feb. 10 of last season, the Penguins are unbeaten in their last 11 games against Western Conference teams (7-0-4). Pittsburgh’s last regulation loss to a team from the West was a 4-1 setback against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 8, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center.
  • Of those 11 games, eight have stretched beyond regulation, with the Penguins going 4-4 in those contests.
  • In his only previous career appearance in Los Angeles, Evgeni Malkin scored a pair of goals – including the overtime game-winner in a 4-3 Pittsburgh win on Nov. 1, 2006. That night, Malkin became the first rookie in 89 years – and just the fourth in NHL history – to score at least one goal in each of his first six NHL games (Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde and Cy Denneny are the others). Malkin has missed the last two Pittsburgh-Los Angeles meetings.
  • Pittsburgh’s top line of Malkin, James Neal and Steve Sullivan has found instant chemistry, collecting a combined 21 points (8G-13A) in seven games together. All three players are coming off multiple-point efforts against San Jose on Nov. 3, with Malkin notching three points (2G-1A) and Neal and Sullivan each collecting a pair of assists. It was Sullivan’s first multiple-point game with Pittsburgh. In their seven games together, Malkin has 10 points (4G-6A), Neal has eight (4G-4A) and Sullivan three points (3A).
  • With Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal, the Penguins have arguably the deepest group of centers in the league. Unfortunately, with Staal missing the past two games, Malkin seven games this season and Crosby all 14 contests, the trio has combined to account for 23 of Pittsburgh’s 57 man-games lost (40%) due to injury.
  • Since the beginning of last season the Penguins have played 96 games. Of those 96 games, the Penguins have had all three in the lineup at the same time just twice (Jan. 1 vs. WSH; Jan. 5 vs. TBL). The trio has accounted for 142 of the Penguins’ 407 man-games lost to injury (35%) the past two years. During that stretch the Penguins are 57-28-11 for a winning percentage of .651.




2010-11 STAT CHART

F Sidney Crosby, concussion
F Tyler Kennedy, concussion
D Ben Lovejoy, broken wrist
D Zbynek Michalek, broken finger
F Jordan Staal, lower-body
D Brian Strait, hyper-extended elbow
Neal (9) Kopitar (6)
Letang (10) Kopitar/Richards (8)
Neal (13)
Kopitar (14)
Engelland (16) Penner (21)
Letang (5) Three with (3)
Neal (3) Three with (2)
Three tied with (1)
Fleury (7-2-1)
Quick (6-2-2)
Fleury (1.96) Quick (1.66)
Fleury (.932) Quick (.941)






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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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