Offense Abysmal, Power Play Even Worse in 1-0 Loss to Jackets
Much like Velma Kelly, Jonathan Quick cannot do it alone. (photo courtesy of NHL.com)
This has to be heartbreaking for Jonathan Quick. The goal he allowed 11:25 into the second period effectively sealed the win for Columbus and gave Los Angeles their first loss in regulation under Coach Darryl Sutter. It was the only goal he gave up and yet, his team was unable to score just once to turn the contest the slightest bit competitive.
Perhaps most alarming of all was the Kings’ inability to net a single power play goal in eight attempts, which included a combined 2:03 of two-man advantage time. They were even given a four-minute man-advantage to start the third period (not to mention this was against the Blue Jackets’ twenty-ninth ranked PK unit) but failed to score once.
Another fine effort from Jonathan Quick was wasted as he was slapped with his eleventh loss on the season. He stopped all but one of the eighteen shots he faced.
If one were to search for a silver lining in this game, one would find it exclusively in the Los Angeles penalty kill. The team committed six penalties (well, that’s not quite silver in that regard) but killed every single one, extending their streak to thirty-four consecutive kills (much better.) The trick is now parlaying all of that success into just about every other aspect of their team game.
The team’s offensive woes which have persisted all season long cost Terry Murray his job less than one month ago, and yet that don’t appear any closer to being fixed. Yes, the Kings were previously 5-0-3 under Sutter and looking as though the team might agonizingly yet finally be coming into their own. But they were still a few fortunate bounces and admittedly blown calls from referees in visiting arenas from losing a couple of those games in regulation. The Kings have scored sixteen goals in Sutter’s nine games thus far, which amounts to an average of 1.77 goals per game (barely more than what Quick seemingly gives up every start)
Recently, Sutter hired Kings legend Bernie Nicholls as an consultant tasked with working with players in practice to ultimately find that which ails them. Nicholls holds the franchise record for goals in a single season; he collected seventy goals and eighty assists during the 1988-89 season. So far this year, the Kings as a team have merely eighty-seven goals through forty games.
Needless to say it remains unclear at this point at what level the Kings may be performing once Nicholls has enough time to make a mark on the team, but if this is the extent of any additional help for the struggling offense, general manager Dean Lombardi may find himself on very, very thin ice.
INJURY UPDATE: Forward Dustin Penner did not play in this afternoon’s tilt. He was listed as a scratch prior to 1:00pm PST, but Sutter claims that it is nothing more than a sore back. He is being regarded as day-to-day for the upcoming week.