The Kings are down 1-0 in their first-round playoff series with St. Louis. As Elliott wrote Wednesday,
"Speaking after an optional practice Wednesday, the morning after the team's 2-1 overtime loss at St. Louis, Coach Darryl Sutter was clear about who must step up. Asked how the Kings can counter the Blues' energetic fourth line of Chris Porter, Ryan Reaves and Adam Cracknell, Sutter was blunt: "Some of the boys that play on our fourth line have to play like big boys."
"He also indicated he won't reunite top-line center Anze Kopitar — who has no goals in 17 games — with long-time winger Dustin Brown. It's likely Brown will stay with Mike Richards and Justin Williams, putting Kopitar with Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner in anticipation of the Blues again matching burly David Backes against Kopitar. Carter ranked fourth in the NHL with 26 goals.
"Jeff and Kopi play really well together, and they play a lot of power play time together. They have something there," Sutter said. "So that's the reason we did it. And quite honest, Mike and Brownie really were our best line by a long shot [Tuesday] night. So it's really more on Kopi to play better, not putting somebody with him to help him."
"It's little wonder that speedy Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano endured what he called a sleepless night before Game 1 on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings. Fortunately, for Cogliano, his centerman and quasi-mentor happens to be Saku Koivu.
"Koivu served as a calming force, and that third line, which includes Daniel Winnik, kept the Red Wings' top threats off the scoresheet as Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader combined for eight shots on goal. Datsyuk, who had eight points in the final three regular-season games, had one shot in Game 1, which the Ducks won, 3-1, at Honda Center.
"They like playing with each other and they did a great job," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Granted, they probably angered those two guys and they'll play a lot better next game because I'm sure the other guys are gonna ramp it up a little bit."