The Los Angeles Kings have scored only eight goals in the last five games, what’s the deal?
After their 3-0 shutout defeat and second straight loss to the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium last Saturday, the LA Kings and the word “offense” bears resemblance to a man going up a creek without a paddle.
Or trying to score without a stick. And it lies within their head coach.
Under bench boss Darryl Sutter, offensive creativity and production are not exactly the forefront of his teams in the past including now with L.A.
In fact, his emphasis on defense has showed in the teams he’s coached on since the 2000-2001 season. In the nine years he has coached in that span (including this year), Sutter’s teams in San Jose, Calgary and Los Angeles have only cracked the top half of the league in goals per game twice (2001-2002 w/SJS and 2012-2013 w/LAK).
The Kings this season are 26th in the NHL in goals per game (2.4) and 27th in PP% (14.4).
It isn’t like Sutter has a roster of third and fourth line caliber players at his disposal here in Los Angeles.
Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll all have the ability to put up 20 goals and 60 points a year if not more. Which leads into the second reason why the Kings have struggled to put the puck in the net this season (or ever since Sutter took over in 2011).
Now granted, the Kings (29-18-6) are number one in the NHL in goals against with 2.1GA per game, but that might be one of the problems in why this team struggles to generate offense. Another reason? Inconsistent play from Brown.
Brown has been kept off the scoresheet the last six games, including only one goal in L.A’s three meetings against rival Anaheim (39-10-5), who are 19 points up on the Kings in the Pacific Division.
The captain for L.A this year has been more a disappearing act than steadfast scorer this season, with only 10G and 6A for 16 points in 52 games of work. Granted, Brown is a blood and guts kind of captain like Rangers leader Brian Callahan, but even the numbers this year pale in comparison to years past.
But let’s also not excuse Richards from the woodwork either. The former Philadelphia Flyer has one goal in his last 28 games. A supposed catalyst in this outfit when it comes to production, he has certainly not cured the offensive woes L.A is experiencing right now.
With a big game against the San Jose Sharks (34-12-6) looming tonight at HP Pavilion at 7:00 PM PCT (NBCSN), the fifth-seeded Kings desperately need to get out of their funk before the Olympic break.
Or continue their slippery slide down the haunting Western Conference mountain and eventually out of a playoff spot with Vancouver (sixth), Minnesota (seventh), Phoenix (eighth) and surging Dallas (ninth) all within eight points or less of L.A.