Kings Offense Dulls in 2-1 Loss
This game was reminiscent of last season’s LA Kings team.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles King's offense went missing on Thursday night. The one reliable aspect of their game this season let them down.
"I didn't think we had as much polish as we've shown offensively," said Todd McLellan. "Some real good opportunities where we bobbled pucks, we had chances at breakaways, two-on-ones that missed the net, or didn't make the right play. The one thing that been coming for us has been the offense and tonight it let us down a little bit."
This game was reminiscent of last season's LA Kings team. Dominating in puck possession and chances, but unable to put pucks in the net and an impotent power play to match.
You have to give credit to Chicago Blackhawks rookie goalie Arvid Soderblom though. The 23-year-old finished with 32 saves and 1.68 goals saved above expected. In for the injured Alex Stalock and Petr Mrazek, more performances like that will than keep him in the NHL for a long time.
An equal amount of blame must be put on the LA Kings. The lack of finish 5-on-5 is an issue, but that happens. Registering zero shots on two power-play opportunities should never happen. Kevin Fiala and Gabe Vilardi on the top unit have improved the power play, but not enough.
There were some positives from this game according to Blake Lizotte and McLellan.
"That was actually more our identity, Kings hockey," Lizotte said. "I thought we were pretty tight defensively, I thought we played a good game overall, just came up short in this one."
"We were pretty solid defensively," McLellan said. "Good through the neutral zone, we didn't a lot of things well tonight. We didn't get the win, sometimes bounces go against you. I think that's what happened to Kev (Kevin Fiala) in overtime there."
The return to 12 forwards and six defensemen improved the team's structure but didn't bring the offensive spark you would hope. The Kings have ridden the hot hands of Vilardi and Fiala recently. Thursday marked the first time since playing the Washington Capitals seven games ago that neither player registered a point. It's great to have two players who can produce at such a rate, but the team must find others ways to generate offense.
It's going to be a long plane flight back to LA after that loss. Fortunately, the Kings have a four-game home-stand coming up to try and get things back on track.