If you haven’t been paying attention through the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings offense is turning heads.
Through 17 playoff games they’ve scored 56 goals (over three per game) and took a 2-1 series lead against the Chicago Blackhawks with a 4-3 win on Saturday night. So what has unlocked L.A.’s offensive explosion? According to coach Darryl Sutter, it’s Marian Gaborik.
“Well, we scored just over three a game the whole playoffs,” Sutter said. “Since the Olympic break, I think, you know, probably getting Gabby coming here makes a difference because it spreads it around. I don’t think it’s one thing in particular. I don’t think it’s a one-line deal.
“Kopitar’s line didn’t score a goal. Got to spread it around. Wasn’t a problem for us in the 48 games and last year’s playoffs. It got to be made an issue, which wasn’t something I was ever really worried about this year.”
Since arriving from Columbus in a trade deadline day deal, Gaborik had 16 points in 19 games in the regular season and has 15 points in 17 games in the playoffs, good for third on the team. His nine goals in the postseason are best in the league.
As for spreading it around, look at last night’s goal scorers. Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli are on the same line and Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov are on the blue line. We’ve seen Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams play major roles as well.
Spreading it around in the postseason is a good way to make sure the opponents can’t zero in any one player. That’s the mark of a truly dangerous team.
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.
Kane also tied Denis Savard (1985-86) for second-longest streak in Chicago history. Bobby Hull had a 21-game streak.