Kings can always count on Drew Doughty — and have for 331 straight games
The big number next to Drew Doughty’s name doesn’t tell the whole story.
He has played 331 consecutive games through aches and bruises, tweaks to the knee and hundreds of blocked shots off his legs. And that’s just the regular season.
“Both playoff runs, I’ve separated my shoulder twice,” Doughty said. “It’s just the way it goes. It’s part of the game. A lot of us won’t be walking too well when we’re done playing, but it’s the way it goes.”
Doughty set the Kings record for consecutive games played Tuesday. He broke the mark of 330 set by Anze Kopitar that ended in 2011. Doughty has not missed a regular-season game since 2014, and he has played in 84 of a possible 85 playoff games in his career. The missed game was his suspension for an illegal hit last season.
Given the high-impact minutes he plays and how often he’s matched up against top-line forwards, Doughty sounds more prideful talking about his durability than he is about chasing another Norris Trophy.
“To be honest, I’m very proud of it,” Doughty said. “But it’s not something I’m thinking about all the time. I’m just so thankful for the medical staff and the fitness staff and the organization too. They’re not afraid, if you need that MRI or you need that whatever, the organization takes care of it every time.”
The season is only three games old and Doughty has already played through pain. He got slashed on the leg in the season opener but missed only a few shifts.
What hurt more in breaking Kopitar’s record was that it happened in a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. The Kings couldn’t tie it on a late power-play and registered only 17 shots.
That’s the theme that has emerged: The Kings have averaged only 21 shots per game so far, which ranks 29th in the league. On Tuesday they directed 42 shots on net, with 17 on goal, 15 blocked and 10 missed. By contrast, Winnipeg made 70 total shot attempts.
Kings coach John Stevens said “the intention to put pucks in the right areas was there” in the third period. Doughty said it’s not for a lack of effort and called out his own unit. He is credited with one shot in three games.
“We need more shots from our defense,” Doughty said. “I feel like our D aren’t getting enough shots, myself included … we need to be more connected. Our D aren’t getting involved in the offense. We’re not even close.”
Stevens tried to tap into the Tanner Pearson-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli line but hasn’t seen what he normally sees from that fixture.
“They’ve set the standard pretty high,” Stevens said. “I don’t think we’ve even come close to that yet. I think we’ve got some work to do there. Exactly how it all falls out, I’m not sure yet. We’ve seen that group perform at a high level in the most critical time of the year, and we just haven’t seen enough of a 200-foot game with those three guys together.
“It’s not just them. We’re looking for some balance in our lineup and it hasn’t gotten to the level that we’d hoped. At least not yet.”
Austin Wagner was with Carter and Toffoli in practice Wednesday while Pearson was with Adrian Kempe and Trevor Lewis.
KINGS AT MONTREAL
When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m. PST
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: iHeartRadio (LA Kings Audio Network).
Update: Montreal traded captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights just before training camp in the latest organizational shift toward youth. Tomas Plekanec has been benched the first two games. Defenseman Shea Weber (knee surgery) is out until probably December.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.