With three starters out of the lineup right now (Pavelski, Roenick, and Cheech), Todd McLellan is going to be headed through some line juggling routines during this short road trip. A few quick observations from last night's game follow the jump, along with some proposed line selections.
[Editor's Note]: This is all based under the assumption Pavelski isn't ready to play on Wednesday in Columbus. If he is in the lineup, he will obviously center the second line and everything else should fall into place. Oh, and the next five minutes will be a complete waste of your time. That too.
The first line has an issue right now due to the fact that Patrick Marleau will probably be playing on the second line with Michalek and Clowe until Joe Pavs gets back on the ice. When Patty was out on that line they generated some good scoring chances against LA, and frankly were the only ones capable of sustaining pressure in the offensive zone during the last twenty minutes of play.
Lukas Kaspar looked winded towards the end of his shifts, and I'm not sure he's ready for big-time minutes on the top line with Thornton and Gooch. There was a couple times when he would just get outworked for a puck, and as a result, the first line was effectively ineffective in the third period. The only question is who do you throw into that spot? You can't leave Patty on the first line and throw Goc up to the second line because that leaves a huge hole down the middle for our bottom pairings. I doubt Michalek will be expected to center the second line again, so something needs to be done.
The only skater I can see being bumped up is Jamie McGinn. He's really impressed me whenever he plays with the big club, and last night he created a lot of action when he was on the ice. He layed on the body, fought hard for pucks, and has some scoring touch. If he can continue to grind in the corners and drive hard to the net (something I didn't see Kaspar doing), Thornton and Gooch will be able to provide a cycle that's going to generate scoring opportunities.
I like this set up because it a) gives Goc someone he can work with to generate and capitalize on scoring chances because Grier has had hands of stone lately b) helps to reinforce defensive ideals with Kaspar by playing him alongside Goc and Grier c) keeps our fourth line strong on the forecheck and d) leaves all top three lines with some skating ability.
If Pavelski is out this is what I'd like to see. If Pavelski is in, Patty reforms that wicked first line, McGinn probably slides back into a third/fourth line role (rotating with Plihal depending on situations), and Kaspar is a healthy scratch.
Last night was a subpar performance in my book, but you have to hand it to the Kings for playing well. They dominated the first period, played us just about straight up in the second/third, and then carried the play in overtime.
Let me know what you think about the proposed line changes, or offer your own in the comments.