More goals needed from Kopitar
With a 5-0-1 record in their last six games, the Kings appear to be back on the upswing, but they’ve been winning without much production from top scorer Anze Kopitar. Kopitar still leads the team with 50 points in 53 games, but he has gone nine consecutive games without a goal and has only one goal in his last 19 games. Kopitar does have 14 assists during those 19 games, but the Kings want to see more goal production. Kopitar had more goals (two) in the All-Star Game alone than he has had for the Kings, total, since late December. The work ethic is still there, but the goals aren’t, and today Terry Murray talked about what Kopitar needs to do in order to start scoring goals.
MURRAY: “I wish I had the one answer that could turn it around. You just have to work your way out of it. Just about every player that has played sports, you’re going to go through a hard time. There is no magic. It’s just getting back to the hard work, the fundamentals. The most important thing, especially on the offensive part of the game, from a player that you’re looking for goal production from, you have a tendency as a player to get away from things. You think you have to find space, that you have to get open, that you have to get to a nice, quiet area out there, so that you’re available for somebody to get you the puck. That’s what you think, but that’s the wrong thing. You’ve got to go where it’s really hard, really nasty and dirty, and you’re looking for one to get off your backside or your stick, just a loose puck or a rebound. That’s the ice-breaker sometimes. Then it clicks, and away you go.”
Only twice in the last 10 games has Kopitar led the Kings in shots on goal — or been tied for the team lead — although he does lead the team in shots on goal for the season, with 174. Murray was asked today whether Kopitar needs to be more “selfish,” in a positive sense, in terms of shooting the puck more.
MURRAY: “I would love that. I think, you always find over the history of the game that the guys who are big goal scorers, they always tend to shoot before passing. As long as the puck is going in, that’s OK. I watched a game yesterday with Tampa Bay, and (Steven) Stamkos has 40 (goals) already. There’s no doubt what he’s going to do. Everybody knows where it’s coming from, and he obliges. He’s shooting every time. And that’s OK. I’d like to see that a little bit more, from maybe all of us in our group. Have more of a shooter mentality than passing, than a passing option.”