Los Angeles Kings: Can They Make the Playoffs with Their Goal-Scoring Woes?

Gary LlewellinCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings vies for position to the net against Derek Morris #53 of the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period during the NHL game at Staples Center on December 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

After 37 games, the Los Angeles Kings remain one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL.

They just recently broke a double-digit streak of scoring two goals or less per game; they have fired their coach, and yet they still remain in the playoff race.

Sitting in ninth place with 41 points, can the Kings make the playoffs while being one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL?

Or are they just lucky that they're tied with Dallas for eighth place in the Western Conference?

Former head coach Terry Murray preached strict defense with his system. This was dubbed by many as the reason the Kings could not score.

With Murray’s system, the Kings cycled the puck down-low and looked to get a goal from the blue line.

If they cannot score goals under new head coach Darryl Sutter and are forced to rely on goaltender Jonathan Quick, chances are they will not make the playoffs.

Jonathan Quick has carried the team in the first part of the season with five shutouts, but with the firepower the Kings boast up front, he should not have to be relied upon much longer.

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The lines get shuffled every now and then, but LA’s top-six usually includes Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Dustin Penner, Dustin Brown, Simon Gagne and Justin Williams.

On paper, that would be one of the top forward groups in the league.

Kopitar and Richards are two of the top young centres in the league, and Gagne is a former 40-goal scorer. Brown, Williams and Penner have all potted 30 goals in a season before.

The only player in that bunch that has been able to bulge the twine on a consistent basis is Mike Richards with 13 goals in 29 games.

Even Anze Kopitar, the team’s leading point-producer, has not potted a goal in 16 games.

If Kopitar and the Kings can find their way under new head coach Darryl Sutter, the playoffs will be in reach.

As solid as Quick has been this season, the Kings will not be competing in the playoffs unless they find a way to produce more offense.