Trevor Lewis burst down the left wing with only St. Louis Blues defender Alex Pietrangelo separating the Kings’ forward from the goal.
But Pietrangelo was never fully focused on stopping Lewis. First Pietrangelo turned his head and pointed at Anze Kopitar, who was streaking toward the net across the ice. Next the defenseman angled his body toward Kopitar, and finally he crouched down to keep Lewis from sliding a pass to his teammate.
Instead Lewis fired a wrist shot that handcuffed Blues goaltender Jake Allen and snuck in.
“You’re going to get those chances when you play on a line with guys like Kopitar and [Marian] Gaborik,” Lewis said Friday, a day after the Kings beat the Blues, 5-1. “They draw so much attention with their reputations so I think I can benefit, but it’s also my job to create opportunities for them.”
That was Lewis’ sixth goal of the season and his first since Dec. 10. He was on a line with Nic Dowd and Kyle Clifford until three games ago, then a shakeup slid him back next to Kopitar and Gaborik. Lewis was on a line with them earlier this season, and neither Kopitar and Gaborik has produced much through 42 games.
Kopitar has four goals in 37 games. Gaborik, after missing the start of the season with a broken foot, has scored twice in 20 appearances.
Lewis said he can can help Kopitar and Gaborik by crowding the net and feeding them the puck. He also thinks playing with them can elevate his own offensive production. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter looks at it another way.
“Those guys should be thankful they’re playing with Trevor Lewis right now,” Sutter said Saturday morning. “He had seven shots on goal last game, scored a goal. I don’t think either one of them had a shot. That’s pretty effective.”
Sutter continued to lament Kopitar and Gaborik’s zero combined shots in the four-goal win. He said Gaborik is “not shooting the puck very hard” and added that it would be “pretty tough” for Kopitar to score without testing the goalie.
That leaves Lewis as the line’s most opportunistic player — at least at the moment — even if he insists that setting up Kopitar and Gaborik is his primary job. He even laughed while admitting that his main objection on his goal against the Blues was to create a rebound for Kopitar to tap in.
The Kings had scored four or more goals in three straight games heading into Saturday night’s matchup with the Winnipeg Jets, which ended after this edition went to press. Lewis did not put a shot on goal in a 6-4 loss to the Stars on Monday, but has otherwise registered three or more in every game since the start of the new year.
“If you have one shot or one-and-a-half shots on average, you ain’t going to score,” Sutter said, shaking his head. “The league’s too tough. Most goalies are too good.”
Follow Jesse Dougherty on Twitter @dougherty_jesse