The Los Angeles Kings are in San Jose tonight where they’ll look to break out of their scoring slump with, say, three goals?
L.A. has managed just six goals in its last four outings, all of them losses. So far this season the Kings are averaging a paltry 2.15 goals per game, more than only the Ducks (1.86) and Islanders (2.09).
I suppose this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The Kings were one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league last year. Ultimately it was their dominance in the shootout (10-2) that got them into the playoffs.
It’s still curious though when you consider all the offensive talent in Los Angeles. The Kings aren’t the Coyotes or Predators, a pair of teams who play defensive hockey because they absolutely have to.
The two biggest underachievers on the Kings are Dustin Penner (one assist in 11 games) and Drew Doughty (two assists in eight games).
Doughty’s production has to be the most concerning. The Kings just broke the bank to sign the 21-year-old to an eight-year, $56-million deal.
Coach Terry Murray is willing to be patient with his franchise defenseman, who missed training camp while hammering out the big contract, then suffered a shoulder injury in mid-October that kept him out of the line-up for five games.
“There’s some lag time here, to get the rust off, to get the cobwebs out,” said Murray after Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Penguins.
The rust excuse aside, Doughty’s production fell last year when he tallied 40 points the season after he racked up 59.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?