Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Kings play the same tune in 3-2 loss vs. Ducks
By Dan Arritt
ANAHEIM -- This might sound like a broken record, except it’s the Kings' offense that's still stuck in a rut.
For the sixth consecutive game, the Kings were held under three goals and this time goalie Jonathan Quick couldn’t come to the rescue. Bobby Ryan scored off a faceoff with 48.8 seconds remaining to lift the Ducks to a 3-2 victory at Honda Center, just their fourth win in the last 22 games.
“We’ve got to start finding ways to score goals,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown.
The Kings came into the game tied with the Ducks for 28th in the league in scoring at 2.3 goals a game. The Ducks raised their average; the Kings did not.
“We had a lot of good chances,” Brown said. “We got more shots on the power play but at the end of the day, we have to score more than two goals. That’s probably the biggest issue for this team right now."
The Kings haven’t scored more than two goals in a game since they beat St. Louis, 3-2, on Nov. 22. They’ve scored more than three goals only five times in 27 games this season, the last Nov. 17 in Anaheim.
And this is a team that was expected to be significantly better on offense after acquiring forwards Mike Richards and Simon Gagne in the offseason, as well as the return of a leaner and meaner Dustin Penner.
Through the first 27 games a year ago, the Kings had 70 goals. They have 62 through the same stretch this season.
“We need to start burying our chances,” Brown said. “Shots are one thing, opportunities are another. … It’s not the first shot that goes in, it’s the second or third.”
The Kings have been seeing some life up front. Penner scored his first goal in 28 regular-season games Sunday in a 2-1 loss to Montreal. Justin Williams scored his first goal in 18 games against the Ducks.
“From a personal standpoint, I’ve been in that situation before,” Brown said of a scoring slump. “Whether it’s a tap-in backdoor like [Williams] got tonight, it relieves some pressure and maybe loosens some grip and then goals will start coming, especially for a player like him.”
But now it’s the players who were hot early in the season who have gone cold. Richards isn’t even playing after going on injured reserve last week because of a possible concussion. Anze Kopitar has no goals and two assists in the last six games and Gagne has no goals and two assists in the last nine.
“We have the players to do it, we just have to find ways [to score],” Brown said. “We have to find more pucks around the net and get around the net. We don’t have enough guys that are staying around the net right now.”
The Kings need to find an answer for their scoring woes and they need it in a hurry. Minnesota comes to town Thursday and the Wild have the fourth-best goals-against average in the NHL.