Search for more offense continues
When the Kings beat Phoenix 2-0, it was good enough. When they beat Dallas 1-0, it was a strong game by both teams and an outstanding game in goal by Jonathan Quick. After last night’s 3-0 loss to New Jersey, though, the numbers started to look more bleak, in particular the Kings’ total of three goals in three games. Entering tonight’s games, the Kings rank 22nd in the league with an average of 2.12 goals per game. That includes only 11 goals in 5-on-5 situations, a specific area the Kings wanted to improve this season. Today, Terry Murray was asked if that was an area of concern…
MURRAY: “Absolutely. That’s an area of concern when you look at the last three years. Our offensive game is not as good as what we need it to be. It’s been one of the lower stats that we look at, in 5-on-5 play over the years. I think everybody is aware of it. We’ve got to get more of a shot mentality. That is, no question, an area of concern. We look at the average shots on goal, as compared to the rest of the league, and we’re down to 27th, 28th in the league. So that has to improve in order to score. At the same time though, in saying that, I think we’ve had some really good looks. Last night, we had some opportunities, and we’re not finding the back of the net right now. We’ve just got to reinforce it, the good things that are happening, and build on it and I think it will start to turn around.’’
I also talked to Mike Richards to get his thoughts on the offense, particularly the contrast of last night’s game compared to the game against St. Louis, in which the Kings moved the puck so well…
RICHARDS: “We just had our legs (against St. Louis). We had that jump, and obviously you’re a better team when you have that jump. You’re not going to have it every night, and those are the nights that you have to battle through and really try to make plays. Some nights, the game seems easy and other nights it seems like you’ve never put the gear on before. You’ve just got to battle through it a little better, and hopefully you come out on top.’’
Question: The power-play percentage has been good, but you’ve only had a total of two chances in the last two games. Is that just one of those things that evens out?
RICHARDS: “You get more of a flow when you get more power-play attempts. When you get one, like we had last night, it doesn’t really give you time to get set up. Sometimes you’re working on things and trying new things. It’s definitely an advantage when you score on it. We just couldn’t seem to find the puck at all last night, throughout the game, let alone on the power play.’’
Question: Is part of it, though, what you’re talking about? If you move your legs better, you might draw some more penalties?
RICHARDS: “Yeah, maybe. Like I said, some games, the game seems easy and some games it seems hard. It’s unfortunate that it happens, but you play 82 games and it is going to happen. You’ve just got to find a way to battle through it.’’