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Playoffs 2013Kings shuffle Anze Kopitar for Game 2

Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 | 03:23 PM

Categories: Los Angeles Kings, Playoffs 2013, STL vs LA, St. Louis Blues

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Anze Kopitar will skate on L.A.’s top line with Dustin Brown and and Justin Williams in Game 2 in St. Louis. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Anze Kopitar will skate on L.A.’s top line with Dustin Brown and and Justin Williams in Game 2 in St. Louis. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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L.A. coach Darryl Sutter made some changes during the morning skate ahead of Game 2 in St. Louis, moving centre Anze Kopitar back to the top line with Dustin Brown and and Justin Williams.
Both Ken Hitchcock and Darryl Sutter have won Stanley Cups as coaches. But there are differences between them.

"In the summer he talks to cows and I talk to golfers," Hitchcock said on Thursday, ahead of Game 2 of the Blues-Kings series (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 9:30 p.m. ET).

"No, I don't know. Darryl is a heckuva coach. The best description I've ever heard is ... about creative conflict. That's what both of us have been able to create. That's part of coaching.

"You're getting players to go into places they don't really want to or they don't know how to go there, and you're job is to help them. Along the way there is conflict, but at the end of the day the reward is worth it.

"Darryl's had some success because of that formula and I've had some success because of that formula."

Told of Hitchcock's assessment, Sutter added: "He's probably a good golfer, too. He's a good coach, I know that."

Odd start time

Blues equipment man Bert Godin might need to place an alarm clock alongside the sticks on the bench tonight. At least, Hitchcock suggested as much when he was asked about the unusual starting time. Game 2 will begin at 8:30 p.m. local time in St. Louis.

"It might get to overtime and I'll be asleep on the bench."

New line for Kopitar

During the regular season, L.A.'s top-line forwards had eight goals and 20 points in three games against St. Louis. With Justin Williams getting the only goal for the Kings in Game 1 -- with 32 seconds remaining -- the Blues did a good job of keeping them in check.

In response, Sutter made some changes during the morning skate, moving centre Anze Kopitar back to the top line with Dustin Brown and and Justin Williams.

"I didn't like the way, quite honestly, our left wings matched up the other night," Sutter said. "I've coached against Ken a lot and we know how he likes to use his matchups. We know [Jay Bouwmeester] and [Alex Pietrangelo] are going to be out there a lot when [Kopitar] is one the ice, that's a fact.

"So if [David Backes] is out there, so be it. But it trickles out from there."

In Game 1, the Blues used Backes against Kopitar's group, while Patrik Berglund's line matched up with Richards's group.

Heavy hitting


Much is being said about this being a "heavy" series. There were 80 hits in Game 1 and the Blues were particularly aggressive in the first period, establishing their forecheck. Kings defenceman Robyn Regehr said his team has to do a better job of countering in Game 2.

"I think we didn't do a very good job of coming out of our zone, especially in the first half of the game," Regehr said. "That allowed them to get into our zone, get the forecheck going and really played to their strengths. So for us, we need to counter that and get back to doing a better job in executing our game. I think you'll see a much different team in Game 2."

Line combinations for Game 2

Blues

Forwards
Jaden Schwartz-David Backes-Alexander Steen
David Perron-Patrik Berglund-T.J. Oshie
Andy McDonald-Vladimir Sobotka-Chris Stewart
Adam Cracknell-Chris Porter-Ryan Reaves

Defencemen
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Jordan Leopold-Kevin Shattenkirk
Barret Jackman-Roman Polak

Goalie
Brian Elliott

Kings

Forwards

Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
Dwight King-Mike Richards-Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner-Jarret Stoll-Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford-Colin Fraser-Jordan Nolan

Defencemen
Robyn Regehr-Drew Doughty
Jeff Muzzin-Keaton Ellerby
Slava Voynov-Rob Scuderi

Goalie
Jonathan Quick

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