The Los Angeles Kings seem like they’re beginning the 2013-14 season like many others: in the middle of the pack. Head coach Darryl Sutter indicated that the middle might be where they need more offense, as he called out centers Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and to some extent Jarret Stoll to LA Kings Insider.
“They’ve got to produce,” Sutter said. “The bottom line is Kopi, Mike and Jarret for that matter are all pretty well-paid guys, and they have to produce. They have to be better players. They have to finish the job.”
Kopitar, 26, hasn’t scored a goal yet, but his eight assists gives him the team’s point lead. It’s not too surprising that Sutter is a little easier on the Slovenian star, fairly mentioning that Kopitar hasn’t been getting much puck luck (26 shots in 10 games).
The bigger problem might be Richards’ play. While the 28-year-old’s defensive game seems on par defensively with his recent efforts, he’s not showing the kind of nose for the net that made him a two-time 30+ goal scorer. He also lacks a single goal this season, yet he’s not firing away like Kopitar, with just 14 shots on goal.
Stoll, 31, seems like an afterthought. While he’s a guy whose faceoff skills and two-way play make him worth having around, you’d still like to see more than (you guessed it) zero goals and two assists.
Sutter didn’t just critique the centers – he said captain Dustin Brown isn’t looking especially sharp, and anyone can see that Jonathan Quick hasn’t been at his best – so the Kings generally need more from their best players. Really, when you look at the numbers, 6-4-0 seems pretty appropriate so far for Los Angeles.
Through six games of the NHL season, Travis Konecny enjoyed a nice start to his rookie campaign with five assists. Just one thing was missing, though.
On Tuesday, he took care of that against the Buffalo Sabres.
Konecny, taken 24th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, deflected an Ivan Provorov point shot early in the third period, beating goalie Anders Nilsson on the glove side for his first NHL goal. That goal also got the Flyers on the board.
Konecny and Provorov make Flyers, expected ‘to be here all year’
California rivals clash tonight, as the Anaheim Ducks visit the San Jose Sharks. This marks the first meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division teams.
The Sharks have lost two games in a row, while the Ducks have won two straight.
You can catch tonight’s game on NBCSN or with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (10 p.m. ET).
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Brent Burns is on a beastly pace
Report: Ducks put Despres on long-term injured reserve
NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks
Difficult night for some goalies across the NHL.
Frederik Andersen has had his struggles against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning, although the players in front of him haven’t given their puck stopper much help, either.
And then there is Bolts goalie Ben Bishop, who took a Peter Holland wrist shot off the mask and appeared to lose some teeth as a result.
But this is hockey. Bishop, who even appeared to crack a smile while being examined on the ice, remained in the game.
Claude Giroux was called for boarding after plastering Zemgus Girgensons from behind into the boards in the second period. But the Buffalo Sabres made the Philadelphia Flyers and their captain pay.
Giroux was assessed only a minor penalty on the play. He promptly exited the penalty box, though, after Matt Moulson scored six seconds into the Sabres power play, giving Buffalo a two-goal lead.
Girgensons and Moulson scored less than two minutes apart to give Buffalo the lead.