What we learned from the Kings’ 2-1 loss at Edmonton

Los Angeles Kings’ Jordan Nolan (71) is chased by Edmonton Oilers’ Eric Gryba (62) and Darnell Nurse
The Kings’ Jordan Nolan (71) is chased by Edmonton’s Eric Gryba, left, and Darnell Nurse on March 28.
(Jason Franson / AP)

There are only so many ways to say the Kings can’t score goals.

“I think it’s been like that for the past couple years,” left wing Tanner Pearson said after the team’s fourth loss in five games, and he’s correct.

And they’ve also been stingy defensively the last few years, but this season they’ve scored fewer goals than the small amount that they’ve allowed. They’ve been shut out 10 times and have scored two goals or fewer 39 times. That’s almost half a season. They’re averaging 2.39 goals per game and 2.45 goals against.

Last season the numbers were 2.72 for and 2.34 against. In 2014-15 it was 2.66 for and 2.40 against. In 2013-14 it was 2.41 for and 2.05 against. The aim of the game remains to score more goals than the other guys, and they’re just not doing it.


Marian Gaborik was a spectator

It’s difficult to see a once-outstanding player decline, and Kings Coach Darryl Sutter obviously sympathizes with the scoring struggles of veteran winger Marian Gaborik, who has only 10 goals and 19 points in 51 games this season. But Sutter needs to see what the young players can do, so he made Gaborik a healthy scratch Tuesday. Another likely factor: Gaborik has only two goals and six points in 25 road games this season.

“It’s been rough since he got hurt last year. I was watching video the other night and this is four or five years ago but he was the third- or fourth-fastest guy in the league,” Sutter said. “It’s been hard for Gabby. Blew his knee out last year, came back and had another procedure, and then he didn’t get cleared until the World Cup. Then he broke his ankle and missed two months. It’s not easy for a guy who’s 24 let alone 34.”

Gaborik is 35, but in any case he hasn’t been able to help a team that has been desperate for goals.


Sutter shuffled the deck and found one line he liked

For the sake of matchups against NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid and for the sake of trying to find that ever-elusive offensive spark, Sutter switched some of his lines around. For most of the game the lines were: Tanner Pearson-Anze Kopitar-Jarome Iginla; Trevor Lewis-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli; Dustin Brown-Adrian Kempe-Jonny Brodzinski, and Kyle Clifford-Nic Dowd-Jordan Nolan.

“Connor’s played against [Carter] always in this building and Ryan [Nugent-Hopkins] has played against Kopi so we just tried to switch it up a little bit with the wingers and see if that would get a little bit more juice out of those two lines,” Sutter said. “I thought putting Brownie with the two kids was a good idea, and they looked good.”

Brodzinski had five shots, Kempe had two and Brown had three, so they were active. Toffoli led the team with six shots.