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Kings' forward Matt Frattin tries to get in line

Left wing is working on fitting in with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, who sometimes improvise on the ice.

October 06, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings forwards Matt Frattin (21) and Jeff Carter (77) celebrate after a goal by Carter against the Wild during a season-opening, 3-2 victory in Minnesota.
Kings forwards Matt Frattin (21) and Jeff Carter (77) celebrate after a… (Jim Mone / Associated Press )

WINNIPEG, Canada — — Kings forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards know their lines, take their cues from one another and usually not much goes wrong if they feel like improvising.

The rest of the cast, at times, seems a little lost.

Left wing Matt Frattin is the latest forward trying to figure out the script with Richards and Carter. In two games, Frattin has two assists, one at even strength, the other on the power play.

It's a tough assignment, but there have been moments of understanding on the two-game trip, a win and a loss. The Kings were off Saturday and their home opener is Monday.

"It's the one constant we've had in camp,"Coach Darryl Sutter said of Frattin-Carter-Richards. "So it's an adjustment, that's a hole that we've had. We feel [Frattin] can play that, play with Mike and Jeff. Quite honest, there's times where Jeff is center, Mike is left [wing] and Frattin is right."

Carter might be listed as a right wing. At times, that's in name only.

"That's where they line up," Sutter said. "Mike and Jeff interchange a lot in a game. That's probably what Matt has to learn the most is those guys play together. It's who is going to play with them."

Sutter has spent most of his time as Kings coach trying to solve the problem on the left side, looking for the right fit for Richards and Carter. He tried Dustin Penner, Dwight King and Kyle Clifford, among others.

"We've had two-, three-goal scorers play there the past two years. Dustin was a two-, three-goal scorer that was in and out of the lineup," Sutter said of Penner, who is now with the Ducks. "We've had kids in there.

"We've moved Mike over, moved Jeff to center. It's been a big hole in our lineup."

On the draw

Kings center Anze Kopitar had an assist in Thursday's season opener and scored in the shootout at Minnesota. But he had an unusually difficult night in the faceoff circle and brought it up, unprompted.

"We took a beating on the faceoff, I personally did. Big time," said Kopitar, who won only five of 19 draws. "There's always stuff you can work on."

Kopitar obviously took the issue to heart. His effectivness went from 26% in the faceoff circle at Minnesota to 62% in the Kings' 5-3 loss at Winnipeg on Friday. His ice time against the Jets, by the way, was 22 minutes 37 seconds, second to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty's 27:08.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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