May 15, 2012, 12:21 PM EDT
“I said when I came here, I thought it was the strongest part of our team,” Sutter told LA Kings Insider. “Last year, [Anze] Kopitar never played in the playoffs. Richie [Mike Richards] wasn’t here. Jarret Stoll was suspended one game. Fraze [Colin Fraser] was not here.
“If you look at it, it’s a total shift in that position. You know how important that position is.’’
The Kopitar-Richards-Stoll-Fraser quartet has been impressive this postseason.
Offensively, it’s combined for 9G-14A-23PTS and a plus-14 rating.
Defensively, it’s been a great shutdown unit. Opposing centers have had a helluva time trying to break loose — Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler was harassed into a miserable opening round series (no goals, minus-1); in Round 2, St. Louis’ Patrik Berglund went scoreless in four games (after scoring seven points in five against San Jose.)
In Game 1 against Phoenix, the Kings were at it again. The Coyotes centers — Martin Hanzal, Antoine Vermette, Boyd Gordon and Daymond Langkow — were hammered in the faceoff circle (Gordon went 8-for-17, Hanzal 5-for-13, Langkow 2-for-8) and went a combined minus-2.
LA’s centers, meanwhile, combined for three points and 11 shots on goal.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett recognized the battle down the middle will be key in this series.
“We recognized that L.A. played a strong game, but I think we can be much better than we were,” he explained. “Center ice is obviously very important in that. Our whole group can be a lot better.’’
May 25, 2013, 2:08 AM EDT
One loss away from elimination.
May 25, 2013, 1:03 AM EDT
Future of the NHL.
May 25, 2013, 12:20 AM EDT
Now, that’s a toe-drag.
May 24, 2013, 11:56 PM EDT
Was Friday’s loss his last NHL games?
May 24, 2013, 11:15 PM EDT
Pittsburgh wins in five games.
May 24, 2013, 10:47 PM EDT
Bad blood, although this seemed unnecessary.
May 24, 2013, 10:31 PM EDT
Big developments coming out of the desert.
May 24, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT
Await winner of Boston-New York.
May 24, 2013, 10:09 PM EDT
May 24, 2013, 9:50 PM EDT
L.A. can move to conference final with a win over the Sharks in Game 6.
May 24, 2013, 9:19 PM EDT
Not speaking about Bobrovsky, but in general.
May 24, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT
You be the judge.
May 24, 2013, 8:41 PM EDT
May 24, 2013, 8:00 PM EDT
Including one of his coaching rivals from the QMJHL.
May 24, 2013, 7:01 PM EDT
Dan Bylsma sticking with the same lineup.
May 24, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT
Kevin Prendergast (pictured) and longtime NHL netminder Ron Tugnutt were let go.
May 24, 2013, 5:08 PM EDT
“The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes’ future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don’s long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed,” said the deputy commish.
May 24, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT
He’s missed the entire series with a broken hand.
May 24, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT
Craig MacTavish has a few things he’d like in return.
May 24, 2013, 3:20 PM EDT
“Hopefully, we’ll find that chemistry,” says Spezza.
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