With Marian Gaborik out of the lineup, Kings are struggling to score
Taking Kings forward Marian Gaborik out of the lineup isn’t one of those things that becomes noticeable in weeks or months.
How about days?
Gaborik had a knee-on-knee collision in the first period on Friday against the New York Rangers, and he is out for an extended period. The Kings are hoping to get him back for the playoffs, according to Coach Darryl Sutter.
Since Gaborik went on the injured-reserve list, the Kings have scored once in two games. They had a short-handed goal, by Anze Kopitar, in an exciting, playoff-type game on Tuesday at Washington, a 3-1 loss to the Capitals.
“Losing Gaborik creates a hole for our team,” Sutter said Wednesday, following an optional practice. “If you look at since he’s been out, our scoring chances … I’d say we’ve out-chanced other teams. But one of those have got to go in.
“We could have easily, other than the Islander game, we should have won every game [on the trip]. Guys gotta score. [Dustin] Brown, [Dwight] King, [Tyler] Toffoli and [Tanner] Pearson. They’ve got to score. It’s not based on Kopitar.”
Toffoli, in particular, has struggled to find his scoring touch. He has one goal since Jan. 17.
Sutter previously hinted that he might consider bringing in someone from their minor league affiliate in Ontario. For now, that didn’t sound like an option, he said, adding: “I don’t think it’s the right thing to do on a long trip. What point would it serve to fly somebody in, not knowing what you’re going to get.”
The Kings are three points ahead of second-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division and have not won consecutive games since mid-January. Sutter said of the Ducks: “They have star power.”
San Jose is lurking, too, a point behind the Ducks. The Sharks have played one fewer game than the Ducks and the Kings. .
“We’re not trying to fend anybody off,” Sutter said. “We’re trying to make the playoffs.”
AT ST. LOUIS
When: Thursday, 5 p.m. PST
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: The Kings made one roster move on an otherwise quiet day, sending No. 3 goalie Peter Budaj back to Ontario. Budaj had been with the Kings, via emergency recall, when No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick was injured and Budaj got the overtime win against the New York Rangers on Friday. Quick started Tuesday against the Capitals and appeared sharp throughout. The Blues are 5-1-1 in February, sparked by goalie Brian Elliott and their usual formidable defense.
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