Game 42 (20-15-7)
LOS ANGELES – Do you remember the evening of January 2 when Dustin Brown scored an early second-period goal against the Colorado Avalanche? Well, that was the last time the Kings had scored a regulation goal. After today’s loss, Los Angeles has gone 158:26 of regulation time without a score as they were shutout by the league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets, ending their streak of nine straight games with at least a point. The loss is also Darryl Sutter’s first regulation defeat as the Kings’ bench boss.
Los Angeles did outshoot Columbus 31-18 and although opposing netminder Curtis Sanford deserves credit for the great game he played, the Kings just didn’t play up to their potential today as they let so many chances slip away.
Heading into today’s matinee, the Kings were prepared to host a team who won just once in their last nine, not to mention having the 29th-ranked penalty-killed in the entire league. Although Los Angeles’ power play up to this point hasn’t been anything to brag about, surely a date against the Jackets would remedy that. Not so.
Like the Kings early on, the Jackets were undisciplined as they gave the Kings eight power-play opportunities, which included two separate two-man advantages (including one the 6-on-4 variety in the final two minutes of regulation) and a double-minor. Surely, enough of these advantages would get the Kings on the board. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The Kings could not score on any of their power plays. Heck, they couldn’t score at all.
Now, even though this is just Los Angeles’ first regulation loss since December 18, no one can deny that this team’s inability to put the puck in the net is a serious problem. When the Kings win (like they did last game), the concern of offensive futility can sit on the backburner. But when they lose, it’s a whole other story.
Whether it’s not being as comfortable playing afternoons rather than nights or whatever the case may be, the Los Angeles Kings need to address their lack of offense. While they’re at it, they need to address their lacklustre power-play, too, but I guess Rome wasn’t built in a day so one problem at a time.
It certainly doesn’t get any easier as the Kings must next prepare for their Monday night game when they play host to Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, winners of four straight (five if they defeat San Jose tonight).
The Kings know what they have to do. Now, it’s a matter of doing it like they didn’t do today.
Photo: Courtesy of Mark Humphrey/AP Photo