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Kings Game 75 Plus/Minuses: Anderson Injury & Korpisalo Impressive

Here are some pluses and minuses from Thursday’s game.



The Los Angeles Kings dropped their second game in a row Thursday, shutout by the Oilers in a 2-0 loss.

It was a hard fought game from both teams and a true goalie battle. The Kings lose more ground in the chase for the Pacific Division title, but with the injury list piling up for the Kings, the division title doesn't seem as important. 

Here are some pluses and minuses from Thursday's game.

– Mikey Anderson's Injury

The health of Mikey Anderson coming out of Thursday's game is probably more important than the result as losing him down the stretch would be devastating. 

Anderson took a rough hit from behind early in the game. Connor McDavid came in on the forecheck and drilled Anderson in the numbers and Anderson didn't return.

That happened just 1:28 into the game, leaving the Kings with five defensemen for the entire game. 

Anderson's a work horse for the Kings, averaging the second-most time on ice behind Drew Doughty. Anderson's also developed into one of the league's premier shutdown defensemen.

It wouldn't be the same level of disaster as losing Doughty down the stretch last season. But losing Anderson could seriously damage the Kings' chances of making a deep run.

Having to leave the game for a suspected head injury isn't good news for the Kings. They'll be hoping it's a short-term problem. Otherwise we'll see the return of Sean Druzi or Sean Walker playing their off-side. 

+ Korpisalo Stellar Again

It's been an odd two game for Joonas Korpisalo. He's been great, allowed just two goals in both games, but has two losses under his belt. 

It appears Todd McLellan is giving Korpisalo the chance to take the starting position heading into the playoffs. McLellan broke up the goalie rotation and gave Korpisalo two straight starts for the first time since he was acquired at the deadline. And while Korpisalo has delivered, the team in front of him hasn't.

Korpisalo finished Thursday's game with 35 saves and 1.68 goals saved above expected. He made some big saves, particularly on the penalty kill, and stifled can't be blamed for either goal against.

The first was a one-timer in the slot that was deflected and the second was a McDavid breakaway. Not much he could do on either.

It could be tough for McLellan to justify another start for Korpisalo Saturday after back-to-back losses, but McLellan should give Korpisalo the nod. 

He's been very good in both games but hasn't gotten run support and Pheonix Copley was poor last time out against the St. Louis Blues.

The Kings have to establish a true number-one goalie heading into the postseason. And right now, that should be Korpisalo.

– The Power Play

The Kings have the second best power play in hockey, but looked more like the anemic power play we saw last season on Thursday.

In their defense, they're missing two key components in Gabe Vilardi and Kevin Fiala, but that's no excuse for such a poor display.

On four opportunities, the Kings created just one high-danger chance and three shots. 

If that wasn't bad enough, the also gave up a shorthanded goal.

Durzi's ill-advised pass to the middle was picked off by McDavid, sending the league's best player on a breakaway. 

In a tight game like Thursday's, you need your special teams to come through. The penalty kill did their job, but the power play failed there's.

They didn't come up against a stellar penalty kill either. The Oilers came into Thursday's game with the 22nd ranked penalty kill in the league. 

It's certainly not time to panic about the power play yet, they're still one of the bets power play's in hockey, but they need to come up big in important games. 

– Todd McLellan's Ice-Time Distribution

One of the Kings' biggest strengths is their depth. 

They're one of the few teams who can roll four lines and be confident in every line. But on Thursday, McLellan refused to roll his lines and leaned heavily on the top of his lineup.

I get it, the two-headed monster of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl is tough to matchup against. You want Anze Kopitar and Phil Danault on the ice at all times against those two. But it's an unrealistic goal. 

Kopitar can't log close to 25 minutes a night with any regularity and Danault playing upwards of 20 is asking too much.

We saw in the playoffs last season that overplaying these two comes back to bite you in the long run and McLellan can't make that mistake again. 

Rasmus Kupari has been solid over the last few weeks and was lively against the Oilers Thursday. He created a few chances, including one of the Kings' best chances of the night, but barely saw the ice. 

There's no world were Kupari should have played just 5:06. Zack MacEwen's 3:04 of ice time is also a problem. The Kings are basically down a forward at that point and could have used a bit of physicality.

That's fine if McLellan doesn't fully trust MacEwen, but if that is the case, don't play him. Jaret Anderson-Dolan has been called a "trusting player" many times in the past. So why is MacEwen in for Anderson-Dolan if McLellan doesn't trust MacEwen.

Kaliyev received the most ice time of the three with 8:00. But a decent chunk of that came from his 2:05 of power play time. 

The Kings aren't a top-heavy team that can rely on their top-six to eat up 40-plus minutes a night. They need to play to their advantage, depth.


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