Kopitar, Brown and former Minnesota-Duluth scorer Alex Iafallo have spent the second most minutes together of any line in the NHL (389) and produced a 52.0 percent shot-attempt differential and 17-12 scoring advantage. Iafallo went undrafted, and had a huge senior campaign in college, with 51 points in 42 games in 2016-17. His presence on the top line has allowed Stevens to move other skilled players down the lineup.
Recently, Tanner Pearson has moved up to the top line. He and Kopitar have a 56.1 percent Corsi for percentage in 89 minutes. Kopitar and Brown’s chemistry gives the head coach flexibility at the left wing spot on the top line.
While the Kings’ top line has high shooting and on-ice save percentages, Kopitar’s numbers reflect much more of a return to excellence rather than an anomaly. And that’s good news for Los Angeles’s chances of returning to prominence in the West.
The 29th overall selection in the 2014 draft, Adrian Kempe has blossomed into a useful, middle-six player this season for the Kings. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles’s system has not created another superstar at the level of Kopitar or Drew Doughty in recent years, but several young players have developed into solid middle-six players, giving the Kings some bite when Kopitar’s line is off the ice.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are without a doubt way worse without Andre Roberson, and a 114-100 loss to one of the league’s worst teams, the Phoenix Suns, showed exactly why.
The Suns wings went off at home, with Devin Booker scoring 26 points on 17 shots, rookie Josh Jackson going off for 17 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists and T.J. Warren adding 23 points on 15 shots. Roberson’s absence allowed the Suns space to shoot over rookie Terrance Ferguson, Jerami Grant, and nobody else was able to help on the drive. Booker had 12 free-throw attempts himself.
Two weeks before he joined the Eagles, Ajayi ran for 130 yards in Miami’s 20-17 win over Atlanta on Oct. 15. He hasn’t carried the ball as much in Philadelphia, but he might have to be a workhorse this week.
The Eagles are the first No. 1 seed to be an underdog in their first playoff game. The sixth-seeded Falcons are 3-point favorites.
“It’s not insulting. That’s the story line right now,” Ajayi said . “Without 11 (Carson Wentz), we’re nothing basically. That’s what we’ve been hearing. We’re excited to come out Saturday and showcase what we can do.”
It’s starts with getting aboard the Jay Train. Ajayi loves the nickname Baseball Jerseys Cheap that Baseball Jerseys he earned at Boise State. He even wears a gold train pendant on his chain.
“The Jay Train is always out,” he said.