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.