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Devils stick with same lineup; should Kings make tweaks?

Jun 10, 2012, 9:00 PM EDT

Simon Gagne Getty Images

New Jersey Devils head coach Peter DeBoer didn’t make a ton of changes during the first three games of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals, simply inserting veterans Petr Sykora and Henrik Tallinder in the lineup in Game 4. It’s not a shocker that Tom Gulitti reports that the Devils stuck with the same lineup from the last two wins, then.

Of course, it’s only logical to ask if Darryl Sutter should make any changes to the Los Angeles Kings lineup. John Hoven believes that Sutter should replace Simon Gagne and Jordan Nolan with grinding forwards Kyle Clifford and Brad Richardson.

Feel free to dissent, but replacing Nolan with Clifford seems like a pretty inoffensive lateral move. To me, Richardson for Gagne is the most intriguing idea.

A shaky return?

At 100 percent, one could argue that Gagne is right up there – or maybe just a stride or two behind – guys like Jeff Carter as the most gifted “natural scorer” on the Kings roster. Yet as different as his game is from Manny Malhotra‘s, the parallel between the two Cup finals returnees extends to their teams’ respective struggles.

If you want to ponder a wildly unfair stat, chew on this: the Kings are now 0-2 with Gagne in the lineup.

Finding the right mix

Again, I can’t state how unfair it would be to blame Gagne. Still, one could argue that Sutter “messed with a good thing” by injecting a guy who hadn’t played since December back into the mix. It’s probably worth mentioning that Gagne hasn’t played since Carter was acquired, so the team never really had a chance to see how another top-six-type forward would fit in within its current scheme.

Richardson isn’t the talent that Gagne is by any means, yet he’s a versatile forward who might make more sense on one of the bottom lines than a guy who has 283 regular season goals to his name. Of course, on the other hand, Gagne is a bad season away from being a 300-goal scorer.

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It’s a tough call, even if Sutter hasn’t really considered it himself. What do you think? Should the Kings and/or Devils make any changes to try to get an edge in Game 6?

  1. kappy32 - Jun 10, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    You said it yourself: Simone Gagne is a top-six forward with almost 300 goals. He deserves the nod over Richards because Gagne is the type of player that can look lost & rusty for 2 games, then light the lamp 2 times the next.

    • James O'Brien - Jun 10, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      I’m pretty much in that boat, too. He’s actually created the occasional chance here and there, too.

      • mickeyb21 - Jun 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM

        Also, the Kings are 1-2 with Gagne. He did play in Game 3. Limited ice time, but he did play and played decently.

    • polegojim - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      Richards had a couple huge puck handling ‘gaffs’ in Game 5 on real scoring chances.

      Put Gagne in

  2. blomfeld - Jun 10, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Is this the Stanley Cup Final or an Execution ?

    Perhaps it might be a better idea to look at this from another perspective. The Kings literally annihilated the top three Western Conference teams in rapid succession and then they have their way with the “best of the east” by romping to a quick 3-0 series lead. Yet now because they’ve paused to catch their breath before administering the “coup de grace” this writer has the audacity to suggest that they change their lineup ? No can do pal. The Kings will close this out tomorrow night in “style” at home, just as they deserve !

  3. polegojim - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    The Kings offensive zone entry has become soooooo predictable and stale, it’s no wonder the Devils stand them up against the boards almost every time. Then, they resort to my all-time yawner… dump ins.

    Mix it up Kings – or you’ll be playing a game 7.

  4. oside760 - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    we (the kings) need to score first. brown, kopitar, richards, penner…. GET OFF YOUR ASSES AND DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. oside760 - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    btw, trevor lewis is the worst player in the nhl

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