What we learned from the Kings’ 4-1 loss to Chicago
OK, not every game between the Kings and the Blackhawks is going to be an instant classic. We know that. Even Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had a dud every once in a while. Nevertheless, there were a few takeaways from Saturday night’s loss to the Blackhawks at Staples Center, even if some of them are starting to sound slightly repetitive.
Marian Gaborik hurt, again
Looking back, it seems almost amazing that Marian Gaborik played in every regular-season game after the Kings acquired him from Columbus at the trade deadline last March.
That, combined, with his stellar playoff run, had people thinking (hoping?) that his injury-riddled history would not follow him to Los Angeles.
Gaborik practiced Friday and was suddenly unavailable Saturday for the biggest game so far of the season. There were early reports that he was ill, but the team quickly offered an update: an upper-body injury.
He missed action in training camp and eight other games during the regular season, also because of an upper-body injury. Gaborik has missed more than a third of the season.
Was this the same thing as the other injuries? What is the timetable?
“Who knows?” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said.
Somehow, ‘Who knows’ isn’t quite as serious in November as it would be in March or April.
November scoring woes continue
It was a November to forget for “That 70s Line.”
The high-octane line of rookie left wing Tanner Pearson, center Jeff Carter and right wing Tyler Toffoli slowed significantly. Pearson, the league’s rookie of the month, had three points in November. The drop-off for Carter and Toffoli wasn’t quite as precipitous, but Carter had two goals and five points and Toffoli had three goals and two assists in November.
They were hardly the only struggling forwards, of late. Center Anze Kopitar, who has led the team in scoring the last seven seasons, is without a goal in his last six games and pointless in his last five.
Against Chicago, Kopitar had one shot on goal, while Carter had none, and Carter was a minus-two.
Regular-season series tilts toward Chicago
Saturday night was no aberration when it comes to regular-season meetings between the Blackhawks and the Kings.
The Blackhawks swept the three games with the Kings last season, and took two of three games the season before that. The Kings have scored one power-play goal (going 1 for 13) in their last four regular-season games with Chicago. They were 0 for 3 on the man advantage on Saturday night.