The numbers aren’t particularly pretty as the Kings have opened their Cup defense with a 3-4-2 record through nine games.
Gabriel Bourque’s goal 2:54 into the game Thursday night was the fifth consecutive game that the Kings allowed a first period goal, and the third time in four games that they allowed a goal in the first three minutes. After nine games, L.A. has been outscored 10-4 in the first 20 minutes. Third periods haven’t been much kinder to the Kings, who have been outscored 8-4 in the final frame. The team’s minus-8 goal differential is the second-worst in the Western Conference through the first three weeks of the season, leading only Columbus.
Jarret Stoll has started off slowly for the second consecutive season, which is uncharacteristic for the veteran center. With one goal in nine games, his point production is off his generally effective early season pace. Though the sample size varies, here is a look at his stats out of the gate since he earned a regular spot in the NHL:
2012-13: 9 GP, 1-0=1
2011-12: 14 GP, 1-2=3
2010-11: 19 GP, 7-10=17
2009-10: 19 GP, 7-11=18
2008-09: 22 GP, 7-5=12
2007-08: 10 GP, 0-1=1
2006-07: 13 GP, 4-8=12
2005-06: 17 GP, 5-9=14
2003-04*: 12 GP, 4-3=7
*Played first game of the season on 10/25/03; didn’t appear in another game until 11/10/03
Though they’ve generally forechecked efficiently early in the season, the trio of Stoll, Dwight King and Trevor Lewis has combined for one point – Stoll’s first period goal in Anaheim last Saturday. In last year’s playoffs, the three linemates combined for 10 goals and 22 points in 20 games.
Stoll obviously has much more to offer than goal scoring ability; his 31 hits currently lead the team. Ranking second and third on that list are Kyle Clifford (30) and Jordan Nolan (26). Though they’re one of five teams yet to play 10 games this season, the Kings rank eighth in the league with 265 hits. Last season, they finished second in the league in that category.
By winning 25 of 58 faceoffs Thursday night, L.A.’s faceoff percentage dropped to 48.0%, the 23rd best rate in the league. Sunday’s opponent, Detroit, ranks third with a 53.7% faceoff success rate. San Jose has been among the most dominant faceoff teams in the league since the last lockout, having finished either first or second in the league in that statistic since 2008-09. They currently rank second in the league with a 56.8% success rate.
More notes and analysis to come in the morning.