One-goal game/production issues

After last night’s 1-0 overtime loss, the Kings’ record in one-goal games fell to 1-6. I wanted to get Terry Murray’s thoughts on this, keeping in mind that he said, from the beginning, that the team’s youth would not be used as an excuse this season. So Murray took it in a different direction and talked about offensive chances.

The Kings rank 29th in the NHL in shots per game, with an average of 26.1. On the flip side, they rank No. 2 in fewest shots on goals against, with an average of 24.8. Murray’s argument holds less water on a night such as Tuesday, when the Kings outshot the Ducks 35-27, but here are his general thoughts about needing to generate more offense…

MURRAY: “I think our number of shots on goal, when you look at the overall picture, is below acceptability, almost. I put a number up on the board a couple games ago, just to refer to it in a team meeting. Detroit’s total number of shots on goal averaged out to, I forget the exact number right now but it was well above 40, and our total number of shots, on average, was about 23.5. So I was just trying to draw a comparison there, about the importance of getting pucks to the net, It was a focus of the practice today, in all the drills we did, to bring the puck there with traffic, looking for second and third opportunities. That’s where the scoring is at these days. If you are going to be able to do that on a consistent basis, with that kind of an attitude, then good plays and the highlight-reel plays will open up for you. That will be a part of the whole picture. On a consistent basis, we need to do the little things and the hard things every day.”

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  • Marc Nathan

    Let’s not give credit to the opposition for forcing the Kings shots to the perimeter…

    Handzus, Calder, Ivanans, Moulson (dearly departed), Armstrong, Simmonds, Richardson… not offensive machines, and easily defended against.

    Then throw Harrold into the mix as a Right Wing…

    Add defensive defensemen O’Donnell, Greene and Gauthier into the mix…

    You think a team with that many guys who are inept around the net can generate 40 shots a game? Add to the equation the fact that Kopitar and Brown have had a hard time offensively playing with Doorstop and Lugnut as their linemates for 10 of the 11 games… and Stoll only seemed to excel when playing the point on the PP, which Murray has decided he can’t do the past few games…

    Trouble… in a word.

  • Kevin

    You can’t score if you don’t shoot. That doesn’t mean take whatever bad shots you can, but the odds are the more shots you take, the better chance you have of scoring.

  • Neil K

    The Red Wings don’t get more shots because they are more willing to shoot … they get more shots because they are better players. They skate, pass and play better. They are open more often. They know how to get point shots through. Listening to Murray talk about the shot count .. he sounds like a fan, not a coach. The shotcount is a RESULT of good play. You don’t increase shots by focusing on shots, you increase shots by controlling the puck more. By being the better team. This is classic tail wagging the dog, and I’m not sure this coach gets it.

  • afx114

    Keep in mind that last year we had a Swiss-cheese defense, and one of the main goals this year was to improve upon team defense. Of course, offense will suffer because of it.

    They key, as this team matures, is to find the right balance between offense and defense.

  • Quisp

    Neil, re “tail wagging dog”:

    It’s true that you increase shots by controlling the puck, to a degree. But it’s also true that certain kinds of players (read: European) have been raised from an early age to make the perfect play, pass before shoot, etc., and you can certainly see this with Kopitar and Frolov, to pick two names. A certain amount of trust (you might even call it right brain) — trust in the system, trust in your abilities, trust in your teammates — is required to fire away before your over-analytical left brain tells you it’s the perfect time. One of the hardest things for certain players to accept is that putting the puck on net + crashing the net + traffic = rebounds = goals. Period. I’m pretty sure Terry Murray gets that.

  • cristobal

    In order to get shots on goal, especially on the power play, you have to have defensemen who are able to pick out when to shoot, and they have to have a decent shot from the point. You’re not going to get anything like that from Quincey, O’Donnell, Greene, Gauthier, or Preissing. The only success Murray has had in this sense is when Harrold has been getting shots through or Stoll is playing the point, and he’s not doing that. You can’t throw punches if your hands are tied.

  • Marty

    Hey I got an idea how about we play offensive players together to increase the chance of scoring on the PP and regular line shifts? Bonk I could of had a V8.

  • Hat Trick

    So many of you are overlooking the fact that Murray has instilled a defensive system in the short time he has been here, that allows us to be able to win these games. We are 12th in goals against ( even with La Barbera in goal) 5th in PK. We actually have some “plus” players. Someone a lot smarter than us said, “Defense wins championships”. Oh, I forgot, some of you would rather lose 6-4 and blame the defense /goaltending. For those of you who posted to Rich’s day before the season poll regarding how our defense would suck, what do you say now? How many of you said that we would be a playoff team? For the many of you who didn’t, what’s your problem? Didn’t some of you say ” I’d rather see us lose with the younger players learning up here in the NHL than Manchester”
    Some of you make anthony sound smart……that’s sad.

  • Quisp

    The defensemen on the PP are Doughty, Johnson (injured, obviously), Quincey, Stoll and one of Harrold or Preissing. Preissing is not a bad choice for a second pair point-man on the powerplay; he wouldn’t be my first choice, but with Johnson’s injury it’s okay as a temporary solution. I like Doughty/Stoll and Quincey/Harrold, and when JJ is back you can drop Harrold from the foursome.

    Anyway, for the most part, it’s not about who has the best shot from the point. It’s about traffic in front. That’s why we want Boyle to get his act together. You get that big body at the top of the crease on the second unit (Brown being the big body on the first unit), goals are going to start going in, in bunches.

  • Neil K

    Well my point was simply this. You don’t address this shortcoming by practicing shooting more. You address it by practicing more hard working puck control. You address it in the systems you run and the players you acquire … and in the line combinations. I am pretty sure TM knows better than to say “yeah we are worried about he shotcount, we are going to tell them to shoot more” but that’s kind of what he said.

    And I don’t know about this theory it’s Euro’s not shooting enough, Quisp. Detroit’s whole roster is Euro.

  • cristobal

    Hat Trick – It’s hard to see the defensive positives when there is so much madness going on with the line combos and defensemen playing wing. The Kings PK might be 5th, but that’s a big slide from 4 games ago when they were 100%. I think I probably posted that the defense would suck, and I think I’m correct. Defense is more than just preventing lots of shots and goals, its also moving the puck forward and helping your team win. Our defense is inept at providing offense in terms of shots and passing. As a team, our defense has come from ahead to give away 2 games in the past week. Doughty cost us the Calgary game, and he took a penalty 1 minute into the Ducks game, but many want to point the finger at Kopi, Fro, and Labs. If it’s not about winning right now, Murray shouldn’t be juggling the lines and playing defensemen as wingers. He shouldn’t be calling out his best player in the media for missing a goal scoring opportunity. No mention of Calder “digging in” to score when JS was beaten.

    If Murray weren’t wearing the Jester outfit we’d be a whole lot more comfortable with close losses.

  • Anonymous

    Heading into this season the #1 team goal was to bring down the goals-against. Currently the Kings GAA is 2.73, last year’s was 3.21. That’s a pretty large reduction. If you want to bitch and moan about the team’s record, fine, but don’t gloss over this improvement.

    Our scoring is down .3 G/game from last year’s, giving the team a .2 net improvement in GF/game and GA/game. They are addressing the #1 team goal. Wins will come if and when Kopi, Brown, and the PP improve their numbers.

  • deadcatbounce

    Oh, damn that Kings PK, anyway! They should have gone 100% for the season! Geez, what the hell do you want???

  • I