A stagnant offense is making it difficult for the Los Angeles Kings to win consistently. A visit to the Honda Center may provide the cure.
The Kings will try again to help Terry Murray collect his 500th win Tuesday night by taking advantage of the struggling Anaheim Ducks, who have blown multigoal leads in their first two games under Bruce Boudreau.
The Kings (13-9-4) have scored two goals or fewer in 18 games this season and in each of the last five. Los Angeles is 2-2-1 over that stretch due largely to the steady play of goaltender Jonathan Quick, owner of a 1.97 goals-against average this season.
Quick was on the bench for Saturday's home game against Montreal, and the Kings failed to take advantage of one of backup Jonathan Bernier's stronger performances. Bernier made 25 saves, but Dustin Penner scored the team's lone goal in a 2-1 defeat.
"It's a disappointing loss. We feel we had a better game to put out there today than what we had and what we brought," center Jarret Stoll said. "It just wasn't enough. We have to give more, push more and be a lot harder. Our scoring chances are few and far between so when you get them you have to get it to the back of the net."
Murray's club was much better at doing that during its most recent visit to Anaheim on Nov. 17. A night after scoring the Kings' lone regulation goal in a 2-1 shootout win at Staples Center, Mike Richards scored twice in a 5-3 win to help Los Angeles sweep the home-and-home series.
Richards, however, won't be available for this game. The center, who has a team-best 11 goals, sustained a hit to the head during a 2-1 win over Florida on Thursday and was placed on injured reserve the next day.
Defenseman Willie Mitchell is also expected to miss several games because of a lower-body injury.
Facing Anaheim (7-14-5) might help Los Angeles get by without them. Entering the finale of a six-game homestand, the Ducks have lost 18 of 21 and nine of their last 10. They're also 2-9-1 in their last 12 at the Honda Center and have blown leads in each of their two games there since Boudreau took over for the fired Randy Carlyle.
After failing to hold a three-goal advantage over Philadelphia in Boudreau's debut Friday, the Ducks coughed up a 2-0 lead over Minnesota in a 5-3 defeat Sunday.
"I said to them, 'Don't hang your head. You look like you're a beaten crew,'" Boudreau said. "'If you can't face adversity in hockey, you're not going to get anywhere. Pull up your socks and get mad, rather than feeling sorry for yourselves.'"
Murray, who has 139 victories over four seasons in Los Angeles, said he doesn't expect Boudreau's player to mope around.
"They're looking to get their game back in order. They're a good team," said Murray, seeking to become the 17th coach to win 500 games. "We saw that over the second half of last season. They have some of the top players in the game. We've got to regroup ... and get ourselves ready for a competitive game."
Having Quick between the pipes might help. He has a 2.13 GAA in his last seven starts versus Anaheim, including both games last month.