Los Angeles is coming off a rare home loss in which it allowed three power-play goals and enters its game Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes having been shorthanded 43 times, third-most in the NHL. Home-ice dominance and penalty killing are staples of the Kings' game, so it wasn't surprising that Sutter shook things up.
"We've seen it before so it's not really a big deal," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "But I guess it brings a little bit of attention to everybody."
Sutter separated Kopitar and captain Dustin Brown, who was moved to the third line with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis. Mike Richards appears to be getting a look at left wing with Jeff Carter at center and Matt Frattin on the right side. Carter takes a lot of faceoffs anyway, while the Richards-Frattin swap is yet another admission that L.A. desperately needs left-wing scoring.
Sutter has been known to go right back to the old lines when the game starts, so the moves might not hold significance. He wouldn't comment on the changes after the morning skate. It will be telling if Sutter does keep Brown apart from Kopitar, who was with Dwight King and Justin Williams.
"It's going to be an adjustment," Kopitar said. "I guess it helps -- not that it's a good thing -- but he [Brown] was hurt during training camp so I played with [King and Williams] for a full two weeks. We kind of know each other already. It shouldn't be too much of a difference."
Here is the expected Kings lineup: