Kings’ Drew Doughty isn’t happy with his overall performance
Drew Doughty had the best plus-minus rating during last season’s playoffs among NHL defensemen at plus-11.
Eleven games into this season, he’s minus-10 for a Kings team that has fallen from Stanley Cup champion to the cellar of the Pacific Division.
“I’m not happy about some things — not scoring points, I haven’t scored a goal yet — it isn’t a good thing,” Doughty said Wednesday at Kings practice.
“Sometimes bounces just don’t go your way. We’re not scoring a lot of even-strength goals. And if you’re playing a lot of minutes, pretty much half the game, you’re going to be out there for goals against.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said that although he didn’t want to single Doughty out, the defender has to play better in his own zone.
“That’s not really a surprise. … That’s not a team issue,” Sutter said. “He’s a young defenseman. He has a lot to learn.”
Doughty, 23, said he’s confident his numbers will get better because he’s pleased with how he’s improving physically, moving the puck and playing defense.
“The media … you guys just see it as points and don’t see the other stuff. The only thing that’s negative is the statistics,” Doughty said. “Beside that, I’m happy with how I’m playing. … I just gotta bear down and put it in the net.”
As they prepare to play Columbus on Friday at Staples Center, the Kings have surrendered 32 goals and scored 26, affected in part by the absences of injured defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell.
Another defender, Alec Martinez, suffered an upper-body injury Monday in St. Louis and was put on injured reserve Wednesday. Andrew Campbell was called up from Manchester (N.H.).
“I’m playing a different role. I’ve never been in this situation. I’m out there first,” Doughty said of the penalty-killing unit. “That’s another reason maybe why my offensive upside isn’t where it’s been.
“I can still play a lot better. I expect to turn it around as soon as I can. I can’t look into it too much and be too worried about what other people are thinking.”
Center Jeff Carter heads into Friday’s game against the team that traded him away last year leading the Kings with six goals.
“I’m more comfortable here now, more comfortable with the system,” Carter, 28, said after joining the Kings from Columbus on Feb. 23. “I had some time in the lockout to heal up, get a little stronger.”
Carter said playing alongside Kyle Clifford and Justin Williams has been complementary, with Clifford and Williams doing “the heavy lifting,” allowing Carter to find “loose pucks and the holes, and the rebounds.”
Carter scored twice Monday in St. Louis.
Carter, who had 46 goals for Philadelphia in 2008-09, remains confident the team will continue “the strides we’ve made, doing the things we did last year.”
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