The Kings’ 1-0 victory over San Jose on Monday was only a brief respite. Their woes continued last night with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes.
After playing in an exhausting six contests in just nine days, the slumping Kings will return to Los Angeles. Unfortunately they won’t find much in the way of relief there.
They will get some desperately needed off days, but they also have a tough schedule ahead of them with matches against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Columbus. After that, the Olympic break will start, but they can’t afford to let their current plunge to extend that far.
“This home stand’s huge for us,” Kings captain Dustin Brown told LA Kings Insider. “You look at the standings, the Pacific Division, these next four games could be the biggest four games of the year.”
After going 1-5-1, the Kings have a narrow lead on third place in the Pacific Division. They have a six-point cushion in the battle for a postseason spot, but have participated in two more games than the top non-playoff team, the Coyotes.
Lately the Kings’ biggest problem has been their ability to score. They have managed to net just two goals in their last four contests. Overall, they’re in the bottom five in the league with 2.31 goals per game.
Still, Brown is confident that the Kings will be able to weather this storm together.
“It’s great when you’re scoring five goals a game, and everything’s easy and you’re winning games,” Brown said. “It’s times like these where we’re struggling to win games and we’re struggling to score goals that it’s important for us to believe in what we have here.”
One of the greatest players in Devils history will soon have his name — and number — in the Prudential Center rafters.
On Tuesday, New Jersey announced that it would retire Martin Brodeur’s No. 30 on Feb. 9 in a ceremony prior to that evening’s tilt against Edmonton.
The decision comes as no surprise.
Brodeur, one of the greatest goalies in NHL history and holder of numerous statistical benchmarks, backstopped the Devils to all three of their Stanley Cup championships, and a surprise Cup Final appearance in 2012.
Widely regarded as the face of the franchise, Brodeur sits second all-time in games played for the Devils and, unsurprisingly, holds every significant goaltending record.
His 688 wins in a New Jersey uniform is a staggering mark, one that may never be broken.
When his No. 30 is raised, Brodeur will join some select company. Only three Devils have ever had their numbers retired: Ken Daneyko’s No. 3, Scott Stevens’ No. 4 and Scott Niedermayer’s No. 27.
Some fairly noteworthy developments out of Denver on Tuesday, the biggest being that Mikko Rantanen — the 10th overall pick at this year’s draft — has made the Avs’ opening-night roster.
Rantanen, 18, was considered one of the more NHL-ready prospects at the draft but “fell” to the Avs, which proved a good thing — Colorado has a long history of fast-tracking high picks to the NHL, as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon all made the leap in their draft years.
At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Rantanen already has big league size. It’s possible he opens the season on a line with center Carl Soderberg, one of the club’s big summer acquisitions.
Elsewhere in Colorado…
For the second straight day, a veteran forward has successfully converted his training camp tryout into an NHL contract.
On Tuesday, the Avs announced that Jack Skille had signed a one-year pact with the club. Skille, 28, is a former first-round pick (seventh overall in ’05) that’s appeared in nearly 250 career NHL contests with Chicago, Florida and, most recently, Columbus.
With Colorado, Skille is expected to fill a bottom-six checking role. As mentioned above, he joins Scottie Upshall as the other forward to successfully turn his PTO into a new deal — yesterday, Upshall signed a one-year, two-way pact with the Blues.