Sports

Changing on the fly: LA Kings' line shuffling leads to big benefits in Cup finals opener

  • Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter smiles as he takes questions from the media at a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Thursday, June 5, 2014. Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Stanley Cup finals opener. Game 2 is Saturday at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter smiles as he takes questions from the media at a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Thursday, June 5, 2014. Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Stanley Cup finals opener. Game 2 is Saturday at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)  (The Associated Press)

  • Los Angeles Kings center and alternate captain Anze Kopitar, originally from  Slovenia, takes questions from the media during an NHL hockey news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Thursday, June 5, 2014. The Kings defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Stanley Cup finals opener. Game 2 is Saturday at the Staples Center. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    Los Angeles Kings center and alternate captain Anze Kopitar, originally from Slovenia, takes questions from the media during an NHL hockey news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Thursday, June 5, 2014. The Kings defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Stanley Cup finals opener. Game 2 is Saturday at the Staples Center. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)  (The Associated Press)

  • New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, of Sweden, top, and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, of Slovenia, the watches puck flip up in the during the third period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, of Sweden, top, and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, of Slovenia, the watches puck flip up in the during the third period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)  (The Associated Press)

The Los Angeles Kings reached the Stanley Cup finals with a zealous dedication to a detailed game plan — and a remarkable willingness to throw it out the window when necessary.

The Kings used both facets of their personality in a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers in the finals opener Wednesday, and they realize it might be necessary again in Game 2 on Saturday.

The Kings won the Western Conference with four distinct line combinations playing together for the vast majority of their first 21 playoff games. After Los Angeles fell behind 2-0 to the Rangers, coach Darryl Sutter briefly shuffled all four centers to spark his team, and it worked.

Jeff Carter says the changes were necessary to get the Kings moving again.