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, captain Anze Kopitar, only one trio spent more time together than the Los Angeles Kings' top line of rookie Alex Iafallo, and Brown's 17, Kopitar, and his predecessor Dustin Brown. Just three combinations scored more goals than Iafallo, and they've given the Sharks particular trouble.
a 4-1 drubbing of the Sharks in their second game of the season.,Kopitar and Brown scored four of Los Angeles' five goals in their first two match-ups with San Jose. Three of those came in the first game
The fourth was the Kings' lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Sharks on November 12. That, came down to matchups., at least in part
Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic spent no more than two minutes of five-on-five ice time against Los Angeles' top trio,The first time around, and dominated in terms of puck possession., according to Natural Stat Trick. The Kings' first line controlled the puck away from the Sharks' shutdown pairing
San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer was able to hard match Vlasic and Braun against each player for about 10 minutes in the second matchup last month. Logan Couture,Even without the benefit of last change,
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, Tomas Hertl,
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, and Joe Pavelski were the forwards that lined up against them most, as DeBoer threw his lines into the proverbial blender.
but it's a bit of a mystery which forward line he'll utilize. With Couture still recovering from a concussion,
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,There's little doubt DeBoer will continue to rely heavily upon Braun and Vlasic,
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, it's likely shutdown duties will fall to his old linemate, Tomas Hertl, based on what the Sharks have done in his absence.
On Thursday, and spent nearly half of his night against Hertl., Brock Boeser led the Canucks in five-on-five ice time. Boeser also leads the Canucks in scoring
Matched up head-to-head,
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, but the ice was clearly tilted in San Jose's favor., the Sharks controlled 70.83 percent of the shot attempts and 69.23 percent of the scoring chances when Hertl and Boeser were on the ice. Each line scored a goal
but in only two of those matched up minutes did the 24-year-old man the middle. If Thursday was any indication,The Sharks have controlled possession when Hertl lines up against the Kings' top line this season,
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, he'll see Iaffalo, Kopitar, and Brown for a lot longer.
but stopping them is key to limiting Los Angeles. As long as they see plenty of Vlasic,
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,The Kings are dangerous aside from their top line,
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,of course, Braun,
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,and Hertl, the Sharks will be in a strong position to do just that.
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