Before the season started, the Los Angeles Kings were on the short list of teams that were expected to compete for the Stanley Cup. The problem is that to win the Stanley Cup, a team must win games. To win games, a team must score goals. Herein lies the problem.
After being shut out by the Oilers last night, the Kings find themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak. The reason is simple: they can’t score. Justin Williams summed it up quite nicely with reporters this afternoon after practice: “Obviously last night was just — let me think of a nice word — it just simply wasn’t good enough offensively.” That’s a refrain that could have been repeated after plenty of Kings games this season—they’re one of the worst offense teams in the league in the early going.
The explanations this afternoon were just as bad as the results last night. Justin Williams says that they should activate their talented defenseman more often. Head coach Terry Murray says they need to get some “greasy” goals. Mike Richards says they just need to stay the course and be more consistent. They only thing they agree on is that there’s a problem.
To sum up: the team has no idea what they need to do to get out of their scoring slump. The worst part is that all three guys are probably right—which means there might not be a quick fix for the problem.
It’s a problem that’s been around all season. With the exception of a couple five-goal outbursts, they’ve struggled to put the puck in the net all season. It was an issue that was pushed to the backburner because the team was still winning when the defense and Jonathan Quick were playing so well. But now that Quick has come back to Earth, the scoring problem is front-and-center for the Kings.
They’ll have an opportunity to find their offensive game tomorrow night against the Penguins (a team that has about 79 injures on the blueline). Hey, things could be worse: just imagine how bad things would be if they didn’t have someone like Anze Kopitar filling the stat sheet every night?
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.
As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.
Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.
Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.
PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).
Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.
In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.
Gaborik’s first goal:
And here’s video of the OT-GWG:
Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.
With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.