Amp up and amplify.
Another day, another MSM/blog/Twitter-fueled whirlwind of predictions or just wild speculation for every playoff match. I couldn't keep track of all the ones for Vancouver and Los Angeles, though I do remember that Bob McKenzie is playing the part of Maggie the Monkey this year whereas EA Sports has Vancouver winning in five and going to the conference finals (only to lose to Chicago).
In fact I literally just watched NHL On The Fly and they informed me the Canucks won the season series over LA 4-0. Zoinks!
Anywho, we've already looked at the gentlemen on the blueline and in net, so let's go around the horn and finish up with the forwards. Some general numbers to chew on before the jump (g/t LA Kings Insider):
- Points At Home - Kings 50 (tie 17th); Canucks 63 (2nd)
- Points On The Road - Kings 51 (tie 2nd); Canucks 40 (17th)
- Goal Leaders - Kings: Anze Kopitar, 34; Canucks: Alex Burrows, 35
- Assist Leaders - Kings: Anze Kopitar, 47; Canucks: Henrik Sedin, 83
- Point Leaders - Kings: Anze Kopitar: 81; Canucks: Henrik Sedin, 112
|2009 - Ryan Smyth||66||22||31||53||8||42||11||0||3||0||204||10.8|
After a one season absence, Captain Canada or whatever the hell we're supposed to call the guy who ignores mirrors makes a return to the post season. Traded for Kyle Quincey last summer, the trade has worked out pretty well for both sides: Avs got a young blueliner playing 24 minutes (booo) and the Kings get a veteran winger for their top line and PP. Smyth doesn't have the best shot, but makes his money pestering the goalie and pouncing on rebounds; he'll be one of a few guys that SOB, Bieksa and the rest will need to destroy to clear out of Luongo's crease. Smyth's 53 points are his worst since 2001-2002 and, against Vancouver, he had two assists, two PIMs and was +2. Note half his goals came on the man advantage...that's probably important to remember.
|2009 - Anze Kopitar||81||34||47||81||5||16||14||1||2||0||255||13.3|
Selected one slot back from Luc Bourdon in 2005, many fans have wondered what could have been had we selected Kopitar instead (no offense whatsoever to the late Bourdon). The first Slovenean to play in the NHL has lead the Kings in points for three of his four seasons; this year he set career highs in points and lead the team in ESG, PPG and even sees limited time on the PK. Against the Canucks he had three points (1G, 2A) and was +3 and, if you check out BoC, guess who had the job shutting him down most of the season? I could go on but you get the deal: he's offensive threat #1 and, judging from his photo, he's also shocked that the Kings didn't suck ass again this year.
|2009 - Justin Williams||48||10||19||29||3||37||1||0||1||0||137||7.3|
You may have last noticed Mr. Williams back in 2006 when his third period goal in game seven of the SCF sent the Oilers home with nothing to show for their 8th seed run. Since then he has bounced around between a few teams and suffered a handful of severe injuries, including a broken leg that caused him to miss a chunk of this season. He had one goal against the Canucks this year, but because of his injury his numbers are far off his career bests. That didn't stop him from taking an decent amount of PIMs however.
And a bonus? His wife's name is Kelly. Just sayin'.
|2009 - Alexander Frolov||80||19||32||51||-2||26||5||0||1||0||180||10.6|
Wait, I thought the Kings traded him already? Malkin no? Some in the media crucify Frolov for being a...wait for it...enigmatic Ruskie. He's got good size, great vision and can add some highlight reel goals. But this season is the fourth straight his production has declined (2G, 1A, -3 against Vancouver). His 19 goals are the fewest since his rookie year. His ATOI has dipped down almost 90 seconds less than last year, his shooting percentage is off 8% from last year, he lost his slot on the first line and has more than once been nailed to the bench during tight third periods. So, other than that, a hell of a guy.
|2009 - Jarret Stoll||72||15||31||46||12||40||4||0||4||0||162||9.3|Rachel Hunter's Katie Cassidy's James Brolin's manboy arm candy gives the Kings a tough, two way pivot who is coming off the second best season of his career (1G, 2A with four PIMs against the Canucks). He's another guy who can play in a number of situations, but perhaps his key strength is leading the Kings in faceoffs won which isn't surprising since he holds the Oilers faceoffs record for a single game (21 of 22 faceoffs - 95.45% - against, yup, Vancouver, back in 2006). Because of his strong two-way play, he'll be a general pain to deal with, especially if he runs up against the Sedin or Kesler lines.
|2009 - Dustin Brown||81||23||31||54||-8||41||7||0||2||0||242||9.5|
Brown was the principal beneficiary of the 8-3 meltdown as he added a trick and an assist in his career high four point endeavor. He's slightly off his mark for career bests (3G, 1A, -4 against Vancouver this year), but probably more encouraging was that his -8 was a career best and 41 PIMs was his second fewest. You know what you get with a guy like Brown: high risk, high reward, all energy. He leads the Kings in takeaways (39), giveaways (79) and hits (287); for comparison, the Canucks hits leader Tanner Glass has 165. Along with Frolov and Stoll, the Kings second line has their best down the stretch and will give the Canucks D plenty of headaches.
But I don't care if Brown cures cancer one day: he's a puke.
|2009 - Michal Handzus||81||20||22||42||4||38||5||1||6||0||117||17.1|
Handzus (also responds to Zeus or Trap Jaw if you prefer) is freakishly consistent and centers a third line that - on paper - is much better than Vancouver's. Handzus is a solid two way player who, along with Doughty, leads the team in defensive zone starts (which helps explain his poor Corsi) and leads all forwards in blocked shots (62). He's a big (albeit slow) guy who's reach will be a pain for Vancouver skaters, but with 42 points (the same as he had last season) he's a offensive threat too. 20 goals is his best output in over five seasons. He added one goal and was -1 in four games against the Canucks this year.
|2009 - Fredrik Modin||43||5||6||11||-8||26||2||0||2||0||66||7.6|
A former Cup winner with the Lightning, you could view Modin like many view Demitra: both are sunsetting (one could argue very quickly), both are prone to injuries and both are probably paid too much. Modin is a good player in his own zone, but has a bevy of injuries (knee and foot injuries robbed him of half a season this year) that relegates him to third line duties with Los Angeles, who picked him up at the trade deadline. He has no points and is a -2 against Vancouver this year, but despite the negatives, Modin's big with a decent slap shot and could end up being a game changer (son of a bitch, same as Demitra!).
|2009 - Wayne Simmonds||77||16||24||40||23||114||0||0||2||0||126||12.7|
Simmonds - the Kings millionth playoff newbie - is called Simmer by his teammates because they aren't creative enough or Juice was taken. Drafted in the second round in 2007, Simmonds is an energetic guy and very much a fan favorite because he leaves it all out on the ice: big guy, works hard, the type of player most teams would like a few of. In just his second season, he recorded career bests across the board and had 1G with a +2 against Vancouver this year. He's the Kings +/- leader and also second on the team in PIMs. Could easily be an under the radar-type guy that comes through to haunt Vancouver.
|2009 - Jeff Halpern||70||9||10||19||-14||39||2||0||1||0||71||12.7|
Another deadline pick up (deadline pick up? what's that?), Halpern is another guy well off his career bests from several years ago with the Caps, but plays a strong defensive game and is handy on the PK. He has one assist and is +1 this year against the Canucks. He's also a dead ringer for Zachary Ty Bryan, so all Home Improvement bunnies be on alert.
|2009 - Rich Clune||14||0||2||2||1||26||0||0||0||0||7||0.0|
In his rookie year, Rich Clune has never played Vancouver and only started playing with the Kings in early February. Reports describe him as having good energy and probably falling on a little bit of the pest side, but he doesn't bring much more to the table after that, especially in the size and offense departments. Ho hum...hey, his last name is also the first name of Australian women. There you go buddy, it wasn't easy but I made you sound interesting.
|2009 - Brad Richardson||81||11||16||27||1||37||0||1||4||0||148||7.4|
The lovechild of Brad Richards and Luke Richardson (go ahead, prove me wrong), Brad Richardson was pointless and a +1 against the Canucks this season. Yet considering his career was damn near dead in the water, a rebound year with 27 points (and four game winners) is pretty damn good for a plugger eating up around 12 minutes a game. A smaller guy, Richardson is good at faceoffs and see's some time on the PK.
|2009 - Raitis Ivanans||61||0||0||0||-8||136||0||0||0||0||18||0.0|
It's possible Raitis will play (yup, he will) and though he's huge and intimidating, we should hope gets plenty of TOI; not only does he lead the team in PIMs but he's pointless in 61 games which jumps out a bit if you bother to scan to the 28th page of the NHL scoring stats. But I didn't say that because I don't want him angry at me. You learned this all from someone else...like Coldplay. Yes, you learned Ivanans is a joke from Coldplay. Please tell him that.