Los Angeles Hockey: Patrice Bergeron

Kings: Nothing to smile about after 4-2 loss to Bruins

March, 24, 2012

LOS ANGELES -- Leave it to the defending Stanley Cup champions to rain on the Kings' parade.

After winning a season-best six consecutive games, including the first three of a wicked four-game home stand, there weren't any conciliatory back slaps Saturday night after the Kings lost to the Boston Bruins, 4-2, at Staples Center.

Asked if a 3-1 mark on the home stand against the Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks represented a positive sign for a team that has seen more valleys than peaks this season, Kings coach Darryl Sutter didn’t sound satisfied.

“The team dug a hole at home ice early in the year, and we tried to win every game since then, simple,” he said. “That’s a tough task and that’s a big chore.”

About the only shining light came later Saturday night, when the Vancouver Canucks came back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, and keep the Kings in eighth place in the Western Conference standings with seven games remaining.

The power play was the biggest culprit against Boston. Not only did the Kings fail to score on all four man-advantage situations, but they allowed a short-handed goal in the second period, just the second given up this season.

The play was set in motion when defenseman Drew Doughty, the highest-paid player on the Kings, turned the puck over in his defensive zone, leading to a second-chance goal by Patrice Bergeron after Jonathan Quick made a dazzling save on Brad Marchand.

“Drew has got to expect that pressure there,” Sutter said.

After the Kings tied the score later in the period on the second goal of the season by fourth-line center Colin Fraser, another poor decision by a defenseman led to the second goal by the Bruins. Milan Lucic carried the puck into the offensive zone, but Rob Scuderi backed off before Lucic released a shot from the faceoff circle that got through the pads of Quick for a 2-1 lead.

“I think Robby was playing goalie too there,” Sutter said. “He’s got to get his stick out and control the lane a little bit better.”

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Kings: Bruins get short-hander, Colin Fraser ties score, 1-1

March, 24, 2012
After the 2nd period:

Kings 1, Boston Bruins 1

The good: What a roller-coaster second period for Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. He got his lip bloodied on a hard hit by Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, turns the puck over in his defensive zone, leading to a short-handed goal by the Bruins, then gets the primary assist on a goal by fourth-line center Colin Fraser that tied the score, 1-1, with 6:43 left in the second period. The Kings were on their heels for most of the period up until that point, as goalie Jonathan Quick and veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell kept the Bruins from doing any further damage. After a breakaway down the left side by Brad Marchand was shot over the net, rookie forward Jordan Nolan collected the long bounce and got things going the other way. He passed ahead to Kyle Clifford, who dumped the puck to Doughty on his right. Doughty took a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle, but the puck clipped the skate of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and served as a great centering pass to Fraser, who lifted the puck into the open side of the net for his first goal since Nov. 12.

The bad: The Kings basically gave away the first half of the period. They didn’t get a shot on goal until 8:33 remained in the period. It’s amazing they ended up out-shooting the Bruins, 9-8, in the period. Doughty got careless with the puck and he was pick-pocketed by Marchand, who took it to the net with Doughty on his heels. Quick came up big with a pad save, but there was no one there to clear the rebound and Patrice Bergeron put it away 5:18 into the period. It was only the second short-handed goal allowed this season by the Kings, who came into the game tied for first in that category with Boston.

The in between: The Kings had three power plays in the period, didn’t get a shot on goal on the first, gave up a short-handed goal on the second, but really peppered the Boston goal on the third, which started with 2:02 left in the period after Boston’s best defenseman, Zdeno Chara, went to the box for high-sticking. Kings coach Darryl Sutter saw something he didn’t like in the second period, or maybe it was something he liked. Either way, second-line center Mike Richards moved back to the third line with Trevor Lewis and Dustin Penner, while Jarret Stoll joined Dwight King and Jeff Carter on the second line. Maybe it’s to give Stoll more faceoff opportunities, as he won six of seven in the opening period. Unfortunately, he went 2-4 in the second period.

Kings must dig deep in this draft

June, 23, 2011
As the clock ticks on the NHL draft, nearly every team has zeroed in on its main targets heading into Friday’s first round.

Somewhere in a back room at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., members of the Kings front office are making different preparations.

First order of business: Find the snooze button.

Because the Kings traded away this year's first-round pick (19th overall) to Edmonton in a bust-move that brought over Dustin Penner at last season’s trade deadline, they are sitting out Friday's festivities. They won't make their first pick until Saturday's second round, 49th overall.

That's OK for long-suffering Kings fans, who likely began their July 4 celebration a little early Thursday with the shocking news that the Kings acquired high-scoring forward Mike Richards from the Flyers in a trade for Brayden Schenn, the fifth overall pick two years ago, and third-year wing Wayne Simmonds.

One less chore to get done this offseason.

Next and foremost on the get-it-done-already list is re-signing soon-to-be restricted free-agent Drew Doughty, one of the top young defensemen in the league. Negotiations are reported to be heating up between the Kings and Doughty, the second overall pick three years ago who is expected to be a cornerstone of the team as it attempts to mature into a Stanley Cup contender.

Then there's the recent news that top six forward Ryan Smyth is reportedly seeking a trade back to Edmonton so he can finish his career where it began. No wonder the draft has become somewhat of an afterthought.

What should make Friday's wait even easier is the lack of blue chippers to choose from. That's not to say some nuggets can't be found deep in the second round, however.

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