Friday, October 22, 2010
Kings: Time to power up for the Avalanche
By Dan Arritt
Kings (4-2-0) vs. Colorado Avalanche (4-3-0) at Pepsi Center, 6 p.m. (PT)
Five storylines to track:
1. Kings powerless play – The Kings have officially hit rock bottom in power play efficiency, converting just one of 22 extra-man opportunities through the first six games. The sad part is they’ve given up more short-handed goals (two) than they’ve scored on the power play. Fortunately, they’ve made up for it with a strong penalty kill, snuffing out 24 of 26 extra-man situations, and one of those goals was into an empty net.
2. Playing too nice? – The Kings are next to last in the NHL in penalty minutes, averaging just 9 ½ minutes in the box each game. That’s the good part. What might need to be addressed is the other team’s fear factor when they play the Kings. Los Angeles has incurred just one fighting major thus far, which is tied for last in the league. Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty was taken out with a questionable hit in the first period Wednesday against Carolina and nobody paid the price. Then again, the Ducks lead the league in both categories and they’ve started 3-4-1.
3. Kopitar’s shooting slump – Anze Kopitar got into the goal-scoring column with his first of the season Wednesday night, but is still well below his career averages. Kopitar, the team’s leading scorer last season, has a .125 career shooting percentage, but is at .040 so far this season. He has played well against Colorado, however, owning 16 points in 16 career games. Colorado is also allowing an average of 3.29 goals game, sixth-worst in the league.
4. Road success – The Kings have won three straight close games at Pepsi Center, one in overtime, one by shootout and the other a 6-5 thriller in January 2009. They are 6-3-1 in the last 10 at Colorado, which equals their best road winning percentage against all teams.
5. Avalanche of injuries – Colorado is dealing with their own injury woes. Adam Foote, a 39-year-old defenseman and team captain, suffered a concussion Thursday night in a 4-2 loss to visiting San Jose and will not play against the Kings. Foote is the second Colorado player to be sidelined with a concussion. Left wing Peter Mueller was injured in a preseason game against the Kings on Sept. 22 and has not returned.