When you look at the individual numbers, the facts are worse. The Kings’ leading scorer, Anze Kopitar, ranks only 34th in the NHL with 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists). Their leading goal-scorer, Jeff Carter, also ranks only 34th in the league with 20 goals. Kopitar is 56th with 17 goals. The Kings have only six players on their roster with 10 goals or more and only Carter and Kopitar have 15 or more.
Further, some of their best players have been mired in prolonged slumps. Mike Richards’ skid has received perhaps the most attention, but he’s not alone and he’s not the driest player on the roster. Richards’ last goal was Jan. 18 against Detroit. He has only two goals since Nov. 25. Overall, he has seven goals and 36 points.
Dustin Brown, the Kings’ team captain, hasn’t scored since Jan. 13. He has one point on the road this season, a goal against the Ducks on Dec. 13. Overall, he has 10 goals and 16 points. Justin Williams’ last goal was Jan. 9 against Boston. He has 14 goals and 29 points.
After the one-sided qualification games were completed Tuesday, here’s what the quarterfinal matchups will be:
No. 1 Sweden plays Slovenia at midnight Tuesday.
No. 2 U.S. plays Czech Republic at 9 a.m. Wednesday (USA Network).
No. 3 Canada plays Latvia at 9 a.m. Wednesday (MSNBC).
No. 4 Finland plays Russia at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Despite the presence of the Kings’ Anze Kopitar with Slovenia, I don’t see Sweden having a struggle. Goaltender Jonathan Quick of the Kings and Team USA should defeat the Czechs, but better not take anything for granted or it will be a long flight home. Canada should rout Latvia. Finland’s matchup with Russia looms as the only one with the slightest bit of intrigue. The pressure is on the hosts to win gold. Finland has played a strong, smart game since its opener and has superb goaltending. Still, it would be an upset if the Russians don’t win and advance to the semifinals. The semis should look like this Friday:
Sweden vs. Russia and U.S. vs. Canada.
The Kings arrived at Dodger Stadium (finally!) on Friday afternoon. They found an ice rink surrounded by a stage for the national anthem singer, a stage for the rock band KISS, a beach volleyball court and a roller rink amid the normal trappings of the iconic ballpark.
Anze Kopitar, the Kings’ leading scorer with 35 points, was named Monday to the Slovenian Olympic team. Kopitar, who has 13 goals and 22 assists, is the only player in the NHL from Slovenia, so his selection to the 25-man team was hardly a surprise. Plus, his father, Matjaz, is the national team coach.
Kopitar’s younger brother, Gaspar, did not make the team. Gaspar Kopitar signed recently with the Ontario Reign of the ECHL. Slovenia is in Group A at the Sochi Olympics, playing round-robin games against Team USA, Russia and Slovakia. So, it could be a short stay for the Slovenians.
The Kings haven’t scored a power-play goal since defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 19. They finished that game by misfiring on three man-advantage chances and then followed it up by going ofer for the next eight games. Overall, they are on an 0-for-33 slide. They are 17 for 112 this season (15.2 percent), which ranked them 23rd in a 30-team league. So, what’s wrong?
Our friends at Fox Sports West have put together a package of several of the greatest games between the Kings and the Ducks, leading up to the Jan. 25 game between the rivals at Dodger Stadium. The first one aired last night and featured the teams wearing their pajamas. Missed it? The third-jersey madness from Jan. 27, 1996 will re-air on Christmas Eve at 3 p.m. Here are the other games:
To be shown Dec. 12
5 p.m. From Jan. 30, 2006, Teemu Selanne scores his 1,00th point.
7 p.m. From Oct. 6, 2006, Anze Kopitar scores his first NHL goal.
9 p.m. From Dec. 2, 1993, the first game between the teams (re-airs Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.
To be shown Jan. 22
7:30 p.m. From Jan. 22, 2003, Paul Kariya rallies the Ducks with two goals, two assists.
The Kings’ bid for a franchise-record 12th consecutive game with at least one point came to a halt when they lost Saturday to the Calgary Flames. The prevailing thought in the dressing room was simply to “park it,” as defenseman Willie Mitchell phrased it Sunday. In other words, put it out by the curb and walk away from it. The Kings (16-7-4) have issues, starting with their faulty power play. They haven’t scored a man-advantage goal in the last five games, going 0 for 18. Right wing Justin Williams said the Kings need more shots from point-blank range instead of firing them from the perimeter while on the power play.
Williams scored the Kings’ lone goal Saturday, the 200th of his NHL career. Anze Kopitar had an assist for his 500th point. The teams meet for the first time since the Kings defeated the Blues in the first round of the playoffs last spring. The Blues are 18-4-3 and have the league’s second-best power play (22 for 89, 24.7 percent). Alexander Steen was tied with Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks for third in scoring with 31 points (20 goals, 11 assists), as of Sunday morning. Only Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (21) had more goals than Steen. Each had played 20 games.
Justin Williams said Sunday he didn’t have the puck he shot into the net for his 200th career goal. Anze Kopitar, whose assist on Williams’ goal Saturday was his 500th point, wasn’t available to talk because the Kings had an optional practice Sunday. Kings media relations czar Jeff Moeller also didn’t know who took possession of the potential keepsake. Moeller said someone on the Kings’ staff ends up with all the pucks that end up in the opponents’ nets at Staples Center. The whereabouts of this one remained a mystery as of Sunday afternoon, however.
Anze Kopitar’s third-period assist on Justin Williams’ game-tying goal Saturday against the Calgary Flames was Kopitar’s 500th NHL point and produced Williams’ 200th career goal. It was all but lost in the Kings’ 2-1 loss to the Flames, however. Kopitar is the seventh player in Kings’ history to reach 500 points. He has played with the Kings for all of his carer. Williams has also played with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Carolina Hurricanes in his 15-season career.
The Kings defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in overtime Monday to extend their points streak to 10 consecutive games (7-0-3), one shy of the franchise record set in 1973-74 and duplicated in 2010-11. Ben Scrivens made 37 saves as the Kings (16-6-3) rallied to win on Mike Richards’ tying goal late in the third and Anze Kopitar’s winning strike in OT. Scrivens is 5-0-3 since No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick suffered a groin injury that’s expected to keep him out until Christmas at the earliest. Jeff Carter returned to the Kings’ lineup Monday after sitting out 10 games because of a foot injury suffered during an OT victory over the Sharks on Oct. 30. Carter assisted on Richards’ goal, his sixth of the season. The Kings activated Carter from the injured-reserve list Monday and placed Quick on IR. Joe Thornton leads the Sharks (15-3-5) with 24 points, including 22 assists. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin, with 23 assists, has more than Thornton through Monday’s games. Kopitar leads the Kings with 23 points, including 16 assists.The Kings haven’t won in San Jose since posting a 4-0 shutout Dec.27, 2010.