It was natural for Trevor Lewis to be a scorer when he was a kid playing hockey in Salt Lake City.
“When I was growing up,” he said, “there was only 10 guys on our team.”
Lewis, drafted 17th by the Kings in the 2006 entry draft, tried to be a scorer at the professional level too, before accepting the idea that his talents were better deployed on the defensive side of the game and as a penalty killer. Which makes it funny now that he enjoyed a career-best three-point game Tuesday in a 5-2 victory at Edmonton, contributing a goal and two assists while complementing world-class center Anze Kopitar and winger Marian Gaborik.
“It’s good to see Trevor with some offense in his game,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said Thursday after the team practiced in preparation for Thursday night’s game against Montreal at Staples Center.
“Meaning numbers, not just offense in terms of shots or scoring chances because I’ll be able to use him a little bit more in situations like that,” Sutter added. “It’s really hard in this league to play guys, forwards, double-digit minutes if they’re not producing offense. It’s really hard if you’re a four- or five-goal scorer…It’s something we’ve learned as a team the last three or four years.”
Lewis, who stands 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds, is a right-handed shooter and can play center or right wing. He has career-high totals of nine goals and 19 points this season and a +7 defensive rating while averaging 13 minutes and 49 seconds’ ice time per game.
He couldn’t remember his last three-point game before Tuesday’s performance, guessing that it was while he played for the Kings’ American Hockey League farm team in Manchester, N.H. He scored 20 goals and 51 points for the Monarchs in the 2008-09 season.
“Once I started turning pro, I think my first couple of years at Manch I was still trying to be more offensive,” he said. “And I kind of realized that to have a chance at this level you’ve got to focus on all the parts of the game, especially defense and checking and penalty kill-wise. I think it started then.
“I think you need to chip in every once in a while too. You can’t go a full season and get no points. It’s good. Hopefully it will keep rolling.”
Lewis also said he feels comfortable with Gaborik and Kopitar because he has played alongside them before. “I think everyone has played with everyone in this room,” he said. “They’re pretty easy players to play with. They’re always open for support and they both want the puck so I think my job is just to get in and get pucks to them.”
Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender off the ice at the Kings’ morning skate, the usual indication of who will start. The Canadiens didn’t skate Thursday morning so it’s unclear if Carey Price or backup Dustin Tokarski will start. Either way, Lewis said, the Kings know they’ll face a challenge.
“They’ve got good players, some good defensemen that move the puck well and can get up on the play,” he said. “Obviously their goalie is one of the top goalies in the league. We’ve got to get to him first and foremost, I think. Get pucks and bodies at him. We’ve got to establish our physical presence early in the game and slow them down a little bit.”
Oh, and it's probably easier to form full teams in Utah now. "You go back and there’s training facilities and stuff like that and a bunch of kids are going to juniors now," Lewis said. "It’s good and hopefully it can keep growing."