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LA Kings’ Offensive Problems Are Defensive, Too

Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown, shown here at a recent practice.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Much has been said this season about the Los Angeles Kings and their acute lack of anything closely resembling a collective scoring punch.

To illustrate, the Kings are scoring an average of 2.45 goals per game (ranked 23rd in the National Hockey League), more than one goal per game less than the league-leading Pittsburgh Penguins and just a hair over half-a-goal per game more than the league-worst Colorado Avalanche.

But the Kings’ recent problems go beyond goal scoring. Indeed, whether it’s turnover that gives the opposition an outnumbered attack, a defenseman getting beaten wide, or a blown coverage, the Kings have been somewhat of a mess in all three zones.

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LA Kings Have Lots To Fix In Short Amount of Time Before Game 3 vs. San Jose

LA Kings forward Marian Gaborik
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — That the Los Angeles Kings are off to a dreadful start to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs is not just surprising, but you could say that it is also understating the situation.

Sure, one could argue that they overcame greater odds in 2014 when they came all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit against the San Jose Sharks to win their first round playoff series, 4-3.

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Vincent Lecavalier Fitting In Better Than Expected With LA Kings

LA Kings center Vincent Lecavalier
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When the Los Angeles Kings acquired veteran center Vincent Lecavalier, no one expected him to do much more than provide some solid bottom six minutes, and perhaps most notably, win some key face-offs.

But in 34 games with the Kings since they acquired him on January 6 from the Philadelphia Flyers, along with defenseman Luke Schenn, in exchange for center prospect Jordan Weal and a third round pick in the 2016 National Hockey League Draft, Lecavalier has exceeded most expectations with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points, with a +6 plus/minus rating and a 52.4 percent face-off winning percentage.

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LA Kings Are Starting To Look Unstoppable

LA Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After they melted the ice with a 10-4-0 record in December, the Los Angeles Kings cooled off significantly in January and February, earning a 13-10-2 record over those two months—6-5-1 in January and 7-5-1 in February.

Although the Kings weren’t playing badly, their play during those two months was considerably less consistent in those two months, as their play was up and down in all three zones.

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LA Kings Darryl Sutter On Dustin Brown: “We Need Him To Play The Role That He’s Played For Us When We’ve Been A Successful Team”

LA Kings forward and captain Dustin Brown, shown here
addressing the crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles during
the team’s 2014 Stanley Cup Championship Rally.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are on a roll, having won five straight games, not to mention ending December with a franchise record in wins and points, earning a 10-3-1 record (21 points) last month.

The Kings end a stretch in which they will have played 16 of their last 22 games on the road tonight in Denver where they will face the Colorado Avalanche. But heading into tonight’s contest, the Kings have earned an impressive 9-4-2 record in the 15 previous road games with play that has been at least somewhat reminiscent of how they played during their playoff run in 2012, leading to the first Stanley Cup Championship in what was then their 45-year history.

Especially during their previous road trip in which they earned a 4-0 record against Phoenix, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary—all Pacific Division rivals, one player stood out, not only because of his strong play, but also because of his previous lack of production.

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