The one problem is the strategy effectively puts all the Kings' scoring eggs in one basket. That means the supporting cast needs to step up on offense, otherwise the matchup game becomes too easy and predictable.
The experiment worked reasonably well in the Kings' two subsequent outings — 5-1 and 4-3 overtime wins over the
"We've done it lots with Jeff and Kopi over time," said Sutter after practice Friday, noting it is easier to do at home. "In a lot of ways, Jeff has probably played more good wing in his career than he has center.
"When we got Jeff, we didn't get Jeff to play center. We got him to play with
In the victory over the league-leading Capitals on Wednesday, the Kings squandered a three-goal, first-period lead but salvaged two points anyway when Carter scored in overtime, on a play set up by Lucic.
"We're all comfortable playing with each other," Carter said. "I've played with Looch quite a bit this year and obviously played a ton with Kopi this year. Three big guys that can move up and down the ice pretty good. For myself, playing with those two is pretty easy when we get in the offensive zone.
"They protect the puck and hang on to the puck and I can just worry about trying to get open. You have to find different ways to score. It's no secret that we've had problems scoring goals and whatnot, and going through some tough stretches, myself personally. I enjoy playing with them. It makes my game a lot easier."
Lucic likes the arrangement a lot. At times this season, since arriving in an off-season trade with the
"That's something Darryl put together in the Anaheim game and stuck with it in the Canucks game and it worked out real well," Lucic said. "Three big bodies that want to play that down-low game and also have that speed in the neutral zone. We have the ability to control the play when we're on our game. It's been a lot of fun. I've played the last seven periods with those two guys — they're world-class players for a reason.
"Hopefully we can keep it going."
The Kings are in a battle for first place in the
Sometimes, it's about a coach's instinct and knowing when to shuffle personnel. It certainly sparked Carter. In a 21-game span between Jan. 17 and March 7, he managed to score twice. In the past two games, he's scored three times.
KINGS NEXT UP
VS. NEW JERSEY
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: Devils starting goaltender