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Clifford likely starting on Kings' top line

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- The faces will be the same although some will be rearranged, so to speak, for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Kings stuck with their new look at the morning skate, with captain Dustin Brown dropped to the third line and Kyle Clifford on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Wednesday that Clifford might not stay with the top line, but for now it appears he will -- at least at puck drop.

How will Clifford mesh with Kopitar and Williams?

"Ask me at the end of 10:15 [Pacific time]," Sutter said. "Or later."

Sutter said it wasn't really about Clifford so much as the need to get better play from all his forwards. The Brown-Kopitar-Williams line has two points in the series, which prompted a change.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan stuck with his same lines and said forward Martin Havlat is out for Game 5. "And we'll just go day-by-day with him," he said.

McLellan said he didn't know if it was an advantage to see an opponent make changes.

"It's probably best to answer that later on in the series," McLellan said. "We looked at our lineup after two games and wondered if we needed to move some people around. Sometimes injuries dictate that. You guys don't know what's going in our room as far as injuries and bumps and bruises. We don't know what's going on in theirs. Sometimes minutes are cut back … because guys are hurt. We really don't know what's going through either of the locker rooms, and I'm only worried about mine right now."

Sutter seemed worried about Dustin Penner because he answered before a reporter could finish his question about the left wing.

"We need a bigger, heavier game out of Dustin Penner," Sutter said. "Very simple."

Sutter also gave an update on Jarret Stoll, saying the center rode a stationary bike at the team's practice facility. The Kings have not disclosed the nature of Stoll's injury but it is believed to be a concussion from an illegal hit by Raffi Torres in Game 1. Torres was suspended for the remainder of the series by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

Sutter alluded to it when he said, "It is that protocol. There's that progress if it's good today."

Here are the lineups each team likely will use for Game 5:


TJ Galiardi - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski

James Sheppard - Scott Gomez - Tommy Wingels

Bracken Kearns - Tim Kennedy - Andrew Desjardins

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Scott Hannan - Brad Stuart

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Matt Tennyson, Jason Demers, Matt Pelech, Freddie Hamilton

Injured: Martin Havlat (lower body), Adam Burish (hand)

Suspended: Raffi Torres


Kyle Clifford - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams

Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter

Dwight King - Trevor Lewis - Dustin Brown

Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser - Tyler Toffoli

Robyn Regehr - Drew Doughty

Rob Scuderi - Slava Voynov

Jake Muzzin - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Alec Martinez, Keaton Ellerby, Tanner Pearson

Injured: Willie Mitchell (knee)

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