Kings’ Darryl Sutter knows what counts ... and how to count
It’s an eye-catching statistic: The Kings, who allowed the fewest goals in the NHL last season and the second-fewest shots (26.2 per game), ranked 28th in the shots-against rankings through Friday’s games, at an average of 35 per game.
That seems like a big leap. But Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said Saturday he wasn’t worried about the numbers, saying that the 43 shots taken by St. Louis on Oct. 16 and the 41 taken by Minnesota on Oct. 19 have raised the team’s shots-against average over a small sample.
“I think that there’s two or three games there, against Minnesota and St. Louis, great teams that are trying to play like Chicago and they’re really close,” Sutter said.
“We’ll take care of that as we move along. I’m not going to put a whole lot into it after seven games. I put more into quality chances-against. There are teams that throw pucks a lot from the outside and get their shot totals up, and so that doesn’t really concern me.”
But Sutter does have a grievance against what he considers to be biased shot-counting by the off-ice officials at Staples Center. The Kings on Sunday will finish a six-game homestand with a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. After that, they will have played seven of their first eight games at home.
“When you’re home for an extended period of time, our building has a problem with giving the home team shots and the other team more shots. It’s a fact,” Sutter said. ‘We had a game three or four games ago where [Anze] Kopitar had two quality scoring chances in one shift but he didn’t have a shot on goal [officially] in the game.
“I wish somebody up there .… There’s lots of people that sit up in the press box that don’t have nothing to do. Somebody should actually do that stat because it’s amazing when you do it yourself what the discrepancy is.”
Sutter said he keeps his own numbers, as do team staffers.
“I can tell you how many scoring chances and how many shots almost right dead on when I walk off the ice. And all I have to do is confirm it when I watch it later,” he said.
“I may not know much but I can count.”
Asked if there were arenas around the NHL whose stat crews were notorious for their peculiar scoring tendencies, he smiled.
“Yeah, there’s one that I’m really familiar with,” he said.
Based on Saturday’s practice, no lineup changes appear likely from Thursday’s 2-0 victory over Buffalo. Injured forwards Marian Gaborik and Trevor Lewis skated, but neither scrimmaged.
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