The Kings are falling.
They can’t score and something needs to be done to reverse the trend before things get out of hand.
The Kings sit at 23rd in the league with 36 goals in favor. They actually have allowed more goals than they have scored.
Only two teams sit in playoff position at the moment with more goals scored against them. One of those teams is hanging onto the eighth spot. The other team is the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Why can’t this team put the puck in the net? Why can’t a team that boasts Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Simon Gagne score on a regular basis?
The talent is there, so the problem must lie elsewhere.
The obvious conclusion would be to point to the coaching staff and that’s what should be done.
The stingy defensive system coach Terry Murray operates does not do justice to the skill he has inherited on the team. Kopitar and company could add so much more to the team if they were allowed more leeway offensively.
Although Kopitar continues to have the best season of his career with 20 points in just 16 games, the forward core in general can’t generate offense. Gagne has five goals, Richards has four, while Brown and Williams have just three apiece.
With Murray’s system, two forwards cycle the puck in the corners and hope to either score from the point or pot in a goal on a rebound. These shots from the point rarely go in because the goaltenders can see them and prepare for them.
Los Angeles elects not to have the third forward go in deep so that he can be ready to retreat on defense. With three players back on defense, the team can keep the opposition from generating too many good opportunities to score.
The Kings need goals and they can’t afford to play it safe when they are in offensive zone.
Now, Jonathan Quick is a capable goalie. He’s quietly turning into one of the premier goalies in the league.
With him in net, the Kings can afford to play a more offensive game. With a solid goaltender, teams don’t have to rely on strict defense and Quick will bail them out every once in a while.
Supporters of Murray will point to the fact he has lead the team to two straight playoffs appearances.
The thing is, though, he hasn’t gotten them past the first round yet. He also plays a system that’s supposed to be used by a team full of grinders.
If the Kings want to score goals regularly, it’s time for a new coach and a new system. The players have the talent to get it done, they just need to be told to do so.