Los Angeles Hockey: Sean Bergenheim

Kings: Offense no-shows again in 3-1 loss to Panthers

February, 9, 2012
Darryl SutterSteve Mitchell/US PresswireKings coach Darryl Sutter suffered through another game of little offense by his team.
Florida Panthers 3, Kings 1

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The Kings eliminated any chance of finishing their longest road trip of the season with a winning record, giving up two goals in a lackluster second period at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., then sealing the loss by giving up an empty-net goal to the Panthers in the game's final minute.

THE STAT: The Kings continue to show their Eastern Conference opponents why they’re the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, managing one goal or fewer for the 21st time in 55 games. They fell to 11-19-9 when scoring two goals or fewer. The good news is, they scored in the closing minutes to avoid getting shut out for the seventh time this season, which would have tied them for second in the league.

TURNING POINT: When these teams last met Dec. 1 at Staples Center, Florida left wing Sean Bergenheim delivered a hit on Kings center Mike Richards that sidelined him for eight games and sent the Kings reeling even further into an offensive abyss. Some thought the Kings might look to exact revenge, but it was Bergenheim who got the last laugh a day after turning 28 years old, scoring the first goal of the game early in the second period.

HOT: Kings center Anze Kopitar continues to scrape together points while most of his teammates put up zeros in the box score. He made an alert pass to defenseman Drew Doughty with about 2 minutes remaining in the game and Doughty scored his fifth goal of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1. Kopitar has 12 points in the last 13 games.

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Kings: All business heading into Florida clash

February, 9, 2012
Kings (26-18-10, 62 points) vs. Florida Panthers (24-17-11, 59 points) at BankAtlantic Center, 4:30 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

LASTL1. Don’t be fooled by the weather After five days in the Sunshine State, the Kings might be feeling a little at home. Considering their record back in Southern California, that's not such a good thing. But the players are certainly aware they still have much to accomplish on this season-long road trip. They’re 1-2 so far with three games remaining against franchises they’ve typically played well against over the years. The Kings beat the Panthers, 2-1, on Dec. 1 at Staples Center, a game they certainly haven’t forgotten for reasons beyond the final score.

2. Bergenheim time – The previous game against the Panthers marked the beginning of a costly downturn for the Kings. Mike Richards had just finished off a stellar month of November, carrying the mercurial Kings with nine goals. That momentum came crashing to a halt when Richards' chin collided with the shoulder of Florida left wing Sean Bergenheim, resulting in a concussion that sidelined Richards the next eight games. With their best offensive player off the ice, the Kings looked lost and lackadaisical while losing their next four games, costing coach Terry Murray his job. As for Richards, he hasn’t looked the same since the injury, scoring just three goals in 21 games. These teams don’t get together too often, so any thought of payback could come sooner rather than later.

3. It’s Clifford time – Kings left wing Kyle Clifford is admittedly a slow starter. He went the first 21 games last season without scoring a goal, then put up 10 the rest of the way, including three in the playoffs. Now a second-year player, he has doubled his season total with two goals in the last five games, both of which held up as game winners. Clifford’s goal Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory at Tampa Bay wasn’t one of the dirty varieties that he mines the crease for, but rather a skillful breakaway in which he made a smooth stick handle from forehand to backhand and slid the puck through the pads of Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson. Shootout audition?

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Kings/Ducks: This meeting has some issues

December, 5, 2011

Kings (13-9-4, 30 points) vs. Ducks (7-14-5, 19 points) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Scoreless-fest? – The Kings are struggling to score more than two goals a game, and the Ducks can’t seem to keep the puck out of their net. Something has to give. At a time when both teams should be taking advantage of the lack of NBA games on the schedule, neither is delivering a particularly entertaining product. The Ducks came into the week tied with the Kings for 28th in the league in scoring, but have actually improved in that department lately. It's the Kings that have taken a step back, scoring two goals or fewer in five straight. What separates the teams in the standings are goals against. The Kings are fourth in the league, the Ducks are 26th.

2. Injury update – The Kings will need to find a way to get through another game without leading goal scorer Mike Richards and top shutdown defenseman Willie Mitchell. Richards went on injured reserve after taking a shoulder to the chin from Florida winger Sean Bergenheim on Thursday. Mitchell has a slight groin strain and is listed as day-to-day, but won’t play against the Ducks. More than ever, it’s imperative that other players step up. Dustin Penner scored his first goal in 28 games Saturday in a 2-1 loss against visiting Montreal, Justin Williams hasn’t scored in the last 17.

3. Line dancing – Kings coach Terry Murray reunited the No. 1 line of Anze Kopitar, Simon Gagne and Williams during practice Monday, dropping Dustin Brown back to left wing on the second line and Penner to left wing on the third. The Ducks, meanwhile, broke up their No. 1 line, moving Matt Beleskey up with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Bobby Ryan was sent to the second line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, hired last week to try and save the team from its downward spiral, seemed to blur the lines after a 5-3 loss Sunday night against Minnesota, saying, “The first line, if you want to call Getzlaf's line the first line, didn't seem like they were generating anything.” Ouch.

4. Doughty’s slow go – Murray didn’t beat around the bush when asked to evaluate the recent performances of young defensemen Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. He said the duo needs to get more involved offensively and not be so hesitant to shoot. Doughty is under even more pressure to perform after missing training camp while his representatives squeezed the Kings into offering the richest contract on the team. Doughty has two goals and six assists in 21 games. It’s interesting to note, Doughty had one goal and six assists through 21 games last season, then blew up for three goals and 15 assists over the next 21.

5. Fighting words – Boudreau was once part of the Kings organization, coaching their AHL affiliate in Manchester from 2001-2005. Therefore, he’s no stranger to the I-5 rivalry that’s developed between the clubs. He summed it up by saying this of the impending match up: “I think there’s going to be a lot of hatred on both sides. When I was part of the Kings organization, they certainly didn’t like the Ducks. So now that I’m here, I certainly don’t like the Kings.” Enough said.

Kings: Injuries come into play as Habs visit

December, 2, 2011
Kings (13-8-4, 30 points) vs. Montreal Canadiens (10-11-5, 25 points) at Staples Center, 12:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. No Richards – The Kings will need to make due without their leading goal scorer, Mike Richards, who is expected to go on injured reserve this weekend. Richards suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Florida Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim late in the second period of a 2-1 victory Thursday night. Richards was playing as well as anybody on the team lately, scoring nine goals in the previous 10 games. Fortunately for the Kings, they have enough depth at center to plug the hole for a while, and left wing Dustin Penner is ready to come off injured reserve after missing the last nine games with a hand injury.

2. No Mitchell – The Kings also took a hit on the defensive side when Willie Mitchell left the game Thursday night with a lower-body injury. The rest of the blue liners did an admirable job picking up the slack against the Panthers, now it looks like it'll be up to Davis Drewiske to hold down the fort against the Canadiens. Drewiske will certainly be fresh, having played just one regular season game this season and spending the rest in the press box as a healthy scratch. He did play well in his only appearance in Philadelphia, so this is a good chance to prove that's more the norm. The Kings will also have a relatively fresh face in goal, as backup Jonathan Bernier is expected to start for just the fourth time this season.

3. Milestone for Murray – Kings coach Terry Murray enters this game with 499 career victories. With a win against the Canadiens, he would become the 17th coach in NHL history to reach 500 victories and the second in his family. His brother, Bryan, now the general manager of the Ottawa Senators, is seventh on the list with 619 career victories. Murray’s predecessor with the Kings, Marc Crawford, is also in the 500-win club. Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff is the last coach to get 500 wins, earning his last January.

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Kings 2-1 victory may have come at a cost

December, 1, 2011
LOS ANGELES -- The Kings held on for a 2-1 victory Thursday night against the Panthers to run their record to 6-0 against Florida since the lockout season, but the two points may have come at a hefty price.

The Kings leading goal scorer, center Mike Richards, did not play in the third period at Staples Center and was reportedly being evaluated after taking a shot to the head. He appeared to get hit up high by the shoulder of Florida left wing Sean Bergenheim late in the second period. He retaliated by slashing Bergenheim with his stick, resulting in a four-minute double-minor penalty for slashing and roughing.

Richards served the first 3:08 of the penalty, which continued until the end of the second period, but Trent Hunter took his place in the penalty box for the first 52 seconds of the third. Richards has a team-high 11 goals this season, including eight in the previous 10 games. The Kings are 11-2-2 in games that Richards records at least one point.

The Kings also lost veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell to a lower-body injury after he played just one shift in the opening period. Mitchell is a shut-down defenseman that’s considered a cornerstone of the team’s defensive efforts.

Fortunately for the Kings, forward Dustin Penner is close to returning from a hand injury and Alec Martinez from a shoulder injury.

Updates to come from the locker room.