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?
Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin seem like a defense pairing built to last, a union of two offensive threats. Or is it?
“Evaluate it every game,” coach Darryl Sutter said Friday, the day before the Kings played host to the New York Islanders at Staples Center. “Quite honest, when we went into Anaheim the other day, the last time Jake played in Anaheim, he was (poor), so don’t think I didn’t talk to him about it. Because you’re evaluated at the end of every game. Because at the end of the day … we’re not that far from Jake Muzzin being a healthy scratch. Not that far removed. He’s a young guy and we’re looking for consistency.”
From the now it can be told dept: defenseman Drew Doughty said he lobbied Kings coach Darryl Sutter to join a shootout, but his plea fell on deaf ears until Tuesday. Sutter finally gave Doughty a chance as the fifth shooter in an nine-round shootout decided by the Kings’ Dwight King. Doughty’s try was saved by the Ducks’ Jonas Hiller, but he was happy with his effort.
Michael Cammalleri’s goal with 23 seconds remaining in the game gave the Calgary Flames a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Kings at Staples Center, a game that turned on several pivotal moments. The Kings had their chances, but not enough of them to win the game, extend their points streak to 12 in a row or to please defenseman Drew Doughty. Here are his three things about Saturday’s loss.
1. Of the power play in general, Doughty said, “Our best players on the ice are always on the power play and those are opportunities we need to step up for our team, and we need to score goals. We haven’t been doing that. It’s about time we did. We need to move bodies. We need to get more shots. We need to get those screens and we need to get those rebounds. I can’t remember the last time we got a rebound goal. We need to be doing that. That’s how you score goals in the NHL. Goalies are too good these days. If you’re shooting the puck on them without a screen or a rebound, they’re going to save the puck. It’s shots and rebounds.”
2. Of the Kings’ inability to score against the Flames, especially early in the game, Doughty said, “We were getting through the neutral zone fairly easily. We were creating chances on the rush. We were getting in there. When we get in there, we need to be creating more chances by cycling the puck, by getting to the net, getting screens, getting shots. I think we had only maybe 10 shots in the first period (actually, the Kings outshot the Flames 7-5 in the first period and 22-20 for the game), and we should have had way more than that with the possession time we had. It gets us into trouble when we can’t score goals.”
3. Of the notion that the Kings might have taken the Flames lightly, Doughty said, “I don’t know. I don’t that that is a reason why we didn’t play well. Maybe it is. It’s all about preparation. When you’re going into a game against a team that’s down at the bottom of the standings, you can’t take them lightly. You need to relish that opportunity. You need to make it a must-win game. It’s the second time we’ve just let them stay around for the whole game. They didn’t outplay us and then they scored a late goal. It’s cost us twice. That’s valuable points we need because right now the standings are so tight. We need to be winning games.”
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty wasn’t exactly looking forward to facing the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at Staples Center. At the same time, he was looking forward to the challenge of playing against them.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter made it clear defenseman Drew Doughty is quite a ways from being one of the NHL’s best defenseman. Not that he isn’t making strides, mind you, but Sutter outlined the coaching staff’s approach to putting Doughty on the path to success. Said Sutter: ”Tried to cut his minutes back. It doesn’t sound like much, by two or three a game, which should help his energy level. Trying to get him to be on the ice for fewer goals against and trying to get him on the ice for more goals five-on-five. Trying to get him to be a better penalty-killer. He’s done a good job on our power play. But you’ve got to be the whole package (to be considered a Norris Trophy candidate).”
Right wing Justin Williams talked about it after the Kings’ 5-2 victory Saturday over the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. Defenseman Jake Muzzin addressed it, too. So did defenseman Drew Doughty after he scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the Kings’ fifth victory in their last six games. None of the three needed prompting.
Tomorrow’s game story tonight …
One of these nights, one of the Kings’ centers will actually put the puck into the back of the net. Until they do, until one of them actually scores a goal, the Kings will have to settle for some effective playmaking from Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and company.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty spoke Thursday about the allure of playing the first outdoor hockey game in Southern California, on Jan. 25 against the Ducks at Dodger Stadium. Doughty is a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, but that doesn’t make the upcoming game at Dodger Stadium any less exciting. He admitted he might feel nervous about playing in front of 55,000 people, far more fans that have ever watched him play before.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are going camping with Team Canada. They have been invited to an Olympic orientation camp Aug. 25-28 in Calgary. Doughty and Richards were among 15 players who represented Canada for the 2010 Vancouver Games, winning gold. Team Canada sent out 47 invitations. Steve Yzerman, a former Detroit Red Wings great, is the executive director the Olympic team. Mike Babcock, the Red Wings’ coach, was named Monday as the Canadian coach.