If it was good enough to win the Pacific Division and gain the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, then why aren't the Ducks using their shutdown line of Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnik in that role against the Kings?
"That sounds like a question for Bruce," Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said Tuesday, his team facing a 2-0 deficit as the Western Conference semifinal series moves to Staples Center for Game 3 on Thursday night.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau has watched the Kings' first line of Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown combine for three goals and six assists while matched against the Ducks' top line of Matt Beleskey, Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
There are some extenuating circumstances to that production — one of Kopitar's assists came on a power play, another on a Gaborik goal with the Kings goalie pulled.
But in a series that began with Boudreau talking about the importance of keeping the Kings' offense muted because of their NHL-best defense, tinkering with past success hasn't helped.
Jakob Silfverberg, who has replaced Winnik in the lineup, has a good shot but his playoff goal differential is minus-three. Winnik isn't expected to score, but his defensive attention helped clinch the Ducks' Game 1 victory over Dallas in the first round. He played in 76 of the Ducks' 82 regular-season games, but has been benched in three of the last four games.
Meanwhile, neither Perry nor Getzlaf has scored a goal in the series. Following Monday's loss, Getzlaf — wearing his "Unfinished Business" T-shirt, reminding the Ducks of last year's first-round playoff exit — was handed a stat sheet from the game and crumpled it in his hand.
Boudreau said he'll review his lines with his coaches Wednesday morning.
"We've got to find a way to score three goals, and limit them to [no more than] one," Boudreau said. "We'll go through the lineup and see who's best fitted for the game in L.A."
"Obviously that Kopitar line is the key line for that team," Koivu said. "The management is reviewing to see what they can do to make it more effective. We'll have to wait and see."
Then there's Quick
Like most Ducks, Koivu surmises that the Ducks' most pressing concern is figuring a way to get shots past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who stopped 36 of 37 Monday. The Kings needed just 17 shots to win.
"It's more about how we can turn these 37 chances into more traffic, get more bodies on their net, get the [dirty] goals," Koivu said.
Perry and Getzlaf are urging more determination, well aware how skilled the Kings defensemen — led by Drew Doughty — are in keeping pressure away from Quick and giving him clear views of shots.
"He's seeing a lot of pucks. We need to get in his eyes, get in his head a bit," said forward Patrick Maroon, who scored the Ducks' lone goal Monday. "We need to crash and bang, go to the net. We need all 20 of us. It's what we've been doing all year. I think we have the character to do that."
The Ducks were 2-0 at Staples Center in the regular season.