The Kings are ahead of the curve in at least one area this season. They have 10 overtime/shootout losses, tied with Florida, entering today, for most in the NHL. They have also participated in 10 shootouts, tied with Minnesota for the most in the NHL. Of the Kings’ 48 games this season, 17 have gone to overtime, more than one-third. That’s far above the league average. This season, 21.8 percent of NHL games (151 of 694) have gone to overtime. That’s actually less than last season’s average of 24.1 percent.
That’s a lot of three-point games, and given how tight the standings inevitably are at the end of the season, the extra points gained/lost in overtime/shootout can have a huge impact (more than they should, in my opinion, but that’s a rant for another time). For instance, last season the Kings were 10-2 in shootouts. This season, they’re 4-6. If they were, let’s say, 7-3 instead, they’d be leading the Pacific Division today. Darryl Sutter indicated he’s not overly concerned about the Kings’ number of shootouts, and shootout losses.
SUTTER: “The shootout losses come because you didn’t score enough goals in the first 65 minutes, right? So I’m not happy with the shootout losses, but what’s the big deal? Last night, they scored two and we scored one, and (Jack Johnson) double-clutches one that was probably going to go in, because he made a great move. What more can you do? You just try to get the right guys and try and figure out who’s hot and who’s not. … I always take the high road and say we took one (point). You’ve got to get points, one way or another.’’
Sutter said that the large number of three-point games makes it difficult to analyze the standings too deeply.
SUTTER: “That’s why there’s no way of predicting who the best teams are. We played a game last week, and (that day) there were five games that impacted us, and all of them were three-pointers. So how do you predict? The best team is your favorite team. Really, that’s how close it is.’’