Scoring responsibility starts with top players
To borrow from Harry Doyle… In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the comments, you have, the Kings still aren’t scoring. The Kings are still last in the NHL in goals per game, at 2.09, and 29th-place Minnesota has actually been pulling away of late. In the last week or so, Darryl Sutter has been emphasizing an obvious point, but one that holds a lot of truth, which is that the Kings’ top scorers have to lead the way. It’s nice enough to talk about Andrei Loktionov, Brad Richardson and Trent Hunter, but the bulk of the focus should be on getting players such as Mike Richards (one goal in last 18 games), Dustin Penner (two goals in 24 games) and Jarret Stoll (one goal in 16 games) going.
SUTTER: “I really haven’t had a problem with effort. The biggest difference I see when we’re not scoring… If you look at the last 10 or 11 games, in the games we’ve won, we’ve scored three, four or five goals. It’s pretty tough to only score two goals and win. At the end of the day, you need your goal scorers, especially on the road, to at least give you opportunities, to give you a chance. If you look at St. Louis, we had four or five good chances. And that’s playoff hockey. Say what you want, but that’s what that was. So you get five or six great chances, and that’s what today’s game is. The other night in Carolina, if there’s anything you look at, from a critical standpoint, it would be that our top guys, other than on the power play, didn’t get those chances. We were getting them from what everybody calls our third and fourth lines. That would be the only thing I would take out of that.’’
Question: When two of your top-six forwards (Brown and Penner) don’t have a shot on goal against Carolina, that’s a big part of what you’re talking about?
SUTTER: “It’s not necessarily shots. It’s just time spent trying to create that. That would be the biggest thing, I think. Kopi’s line, Kopi scored the power-play goal and he was pretty good. We need Willy and Brownie to finish and get more opportunities. On the next line, if you look at it the other night, Richie and Jarret both played good. They had 2-on-1s together, twice. That’s what you expect out of them. We need more out of Dustin, that’s obvious. Then the kids [Loktionov line], I said, `Hey, friggin’ enjoy it.’ They’re playing good. Those kids, if your best players are creating opportunity, they’re playing with energy, and what more do you want?’’