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Kings Game 49 Plus/Minuses: Young Fourth Line & Copley

If Copley can return to solid play, it solves a big issue for the Kings.



Several fans had pressed the panic button after the Kings dropped three straight games in the last week. 

The savior in net, Pheonix Copley was struggling and the team didn't have their normal offensive polish, things were looking bleak. Making Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks feel like a must-win game.

Here are some plus and minuses from the Kings 2-1 victory Sunday. 

+ The Fourth Line

Despite playing just 6:49 together according to, the Kings' fourth line gets a deserved plus. It was an exciting line featuring a few of the team's most notable prospects. Alex Turcotte made his season debut, centering Rasmus Kupari and Samuel Fagemo. 

Their minutes were sheltered. They often only played with the Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson pairing behind them and took very short shifts, but they made their limited ice time count. 

According to moneypuck, they finished with 58.8% expected goals, 62.5% Corsi and 63.6% Fenwick. Out-chancing and outshooting opponents is a recipe for success and they were able to do that all night.

It was an especially impressive performance for Turcotte, who's dealt with so much adversity in his career. He played with pace, forechecked well and created offense for his linemates. He also finished with the highest faceoff percentage on the team, winning 50% of his draws.

It's a small step for the 2019 fifth-overall pick, but it's progress. He's still looking for his first career goal, but getting him game time is huge.

That fourth line is an easy one for fans to get excited about. It's always fun watching the future of the franchise all play together.

– The Second Line

In isolation, this wasn't a terrible game from the second line. They had their chances and carried play for large parts of the game. Put in the context of their recent performances, it's disappointing. 

The Blackhawks' goal came with them on the ice, giving them a -5 rating in the last three games. 

For a line that dominated during most of this month, it's been a rough patch of games. Especially for a line that prides itself on defensive prowess. 

The team's other lines have played well over the last few games, so it's unlikely we see much movement. But Todd McLellan might be forced into moves if things don't improve for the second line.

Moving Kevin Fiala from the third line could work, or moving one of the young players from the fourth line up. Again, it's not time to make that move yet, but another poor performance or two, and it might become necessary. 

+ Jaret Anderson-Dolan

When you score your teams only two goals in a 2-1 victory, it's safe to assume you played well. 

And that's exactly what Jaret Anderson-Dolan did Sunday.

He's been the go-to guy to move up the lineup for Todd McLellan recently. McLellan has called Anderson-Dolan a trusting player, someone who he can rely on to play well in every situation.

Anderson-Dolan repaid that trust with his two goals. The first goal was a great individual play. After springing Fiala on a breakaway, Anderson-Dolan followed up the play, finishing a rebound. An example of the intelligence coaches always references when discussing Anderson-Dolan.

His second goal highlighted an underrated part of his game and a part we haven't seen enough of in the NHL. The ability to find open space in the offensive zone and quickly finish. It's a skill that saw him score plenty of goals in juniors and the AHL but hasn't translated yet.

After cycling the puck, Anderson-Dolan attacked the center of the ice, picking up a feed from Fiala before finishing. It wasn't a great shot, but he did enough to beat the goalie an that's what matters.

After spending most of the first month of the season as a healthy scratch, he's cemented his place in the lineup.

+ Pheonix Copley

Copley didn't have much to do in the first two periods, as the Kings held Chicago to just 10 shots on goal, but he made the saves he needed to. And came up big in the third when the Kings needed him.

He made an acrobatic kick save on Max Domi and stopped 18 of 19 shots against. He finished with 1.27 goals saved above expected and a .947 save percentage. Like the second line, in isolation, you shouldn't take a ton from this performance but in the context of his recent starts it's a good sign.

A calm and collected performance after being pulled two games in a row is exactly what he needed. The team in front of Copley did their part, blocking 13 shots and keeping the high-danger chances to a minimum. 

All season the Kings have needed their goalies to be average, nothing more, nothing less and Copley was that on Sunday. It's what he's done most of this season. I wouldn't be confident in saying he's back and the Kings have their goaltending problem solved, but it was a solid performance for Copley.

It will be interesting to see who starts Tuesday, as Jonathan Quick put in a good performance against the Nashville Predators Sunday. 

If Copley can return to solid play, it solves a big issue for the Kings. 

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