Monday, January 17, 2011
Kings: Play continues to be a dump
By Dan Arritt
Kings (24-20-1, 49) vs. St. Louis Blues (21-17-6, 48) at Scottrade Center, 5 p.m. PT
Five storylines to track:
1. A dumpy system– The Kings' dump-n-chase offensive style is about as exciting as watching the Zamboni go back and forth between periods. Even worse, it seems the opponents know it’s coming, leading to very few scoring chances. The Kings have combined for just 72 shots on goal in the last three games. They needed a fortunate bounce off a Dallas player to get their only goal in a 2-1 loss Monday night in Dallas.
2. Another leapfrog game – With a loss against the Blues, the Kings could easily find themselves in 12thplace in the Western Conference by the end of Tuesday night. Not only is St. Louis just a point behind the Kings, but Minnesota also has 49 points and the Wild play the last-place Oilers on Tuesday. Still, the Kings have somehow remained within striking distance of the top eight, sitting just three points out of the final playoff spot.
3. Goalie watch – Jonathan Bernier started in goal for the second consecutive game Monday night against the Stars–the first time this season he has started back to backs this season. He did an admirable job, allowing just two power-play goals on great efforts by Dallas. Coach Terry Murray will likely call on Jonathan Quick against the Blues. It seems safe to say Quick needs to do even better than Bernier if he wants to hold on to the No. 1 job.
4. Doughty de-iced?– Somewhat mysteriously, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had just 19 minutes 44 seconds of ice time against the Stars, the least amount he has totaled this season when playing a full game. Doughty, who leads the Kings in average ice time at 25:30 a game, is one of their main penalty killers as well, but he was on the ice for just 2:34 of the 8:13 in penalty-kill minutes. Murray chose to go with veterans Rob Scuderi (4:01) and Willie Mitchell (5:05) during most of the penalty-kill time. In all, five teammates had more ice time than Doughty.
5. Blues injury news– Just five days ago, the Blues defeated the Kings for the third time this season. They played the latest game without defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who was hit in the face with a puck and sustained significant swelling. It appears Colaiacovo is ready to go against the Kings, as the team sent his temporary replacement, Ian Cole, back to th AHL. Colaiacovo has combined for 61 points the last two seasons, the most by a St. Louis defenseman.