The Key Three: Jan. 21
1. ONE-LINE TEAM
Since being put together two weeks ago, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams have been strong, with a total of 10 goals between them in seven games. Where is everyone else? Last night’s game provided the most stark example of how top heavy the Kings have become. Kopitar scored the lone goal, with assists from Brown and Williams. Dustin Penner? Zero shots on goal, one double-minor penalty. Mike Richards? One shot on goal, two missed shots. Jarret Stoll? One shot on goal, one high-sticking penalty while on the power play. These are three veterans who should be providing complementary scoring.
2. OUT-SKATED, OUT-HIT
The day before the game, Darryl Sutter correctly pointed out the challenge in facing Colorado, namely that the Avalanche have a young, talented group of forwards who can skate. Not surprisingly, the Avalanche did a good job of controlling the pace of the game. Surprisingly, they were also the more physical team. According to the official stat sheet, the Avalanche out-hit the Kings 32-28. That can be a subjective statistic, but where was the Kings’ grit? From the opening faceoff, the Kings did not play with enough desperation. It showed in a lackluster first period, and the Avalanche were never taken out of the game.
3. LATE MISSED OPPORTUNITY
For all their faults throughout the game, the Kings still had a golden opportunity to tie the game late, when Colorado’s Peter Mueller was called for slashing Dustin Brown with 4:49 remaining. The Kings could regroup and score a big game-tying power-play goal, right? Wrong. Over the next 1:49, the Kings barely controlled the puck, recorded one shot on goal then took a penalty, when Jarret Stoll was called for high-sticking in the offensive zone. The Kings actually were threatening on the power play early, but with a chance to make a game-saving play late in the third period, they wilted. The Kings went 0-for-3 on the power play overall.