Early afternoons and the Kings occasionally clash. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter once used the phrase, “pajama party” to describe an early scheduled game at Staples Center.
During Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Kings looked a lot better by 2:30 p.m. than they did, say, at 1:30. Unfortunately, the game started at 1 p.m. Beyond their slowness in getting started, there were a few takeaways in the defeat, their last home game before a five-game trip.
Shot total doesn’t tell whole story
Yes, the Kings did outshoot the Flyers, 38-16 overall, and an impressive 31-9 margin in the final two periods. But it wasn’t nearly that lopsided, according to some of the Kings’ players.
“Listen, sometimes shots are misleading in the fact that one team’s got a lead and they’re trying to protect it,” forward Justin Williams, who had the Kings’ only goal.
“And you’re firing all you can at the net. So, do I think it was as one-sided as the 2-to-1 shot ratio? No, absolutely not. They had a lot of grade-A chances and we failed to come back from a lackluster start.”
Kings continue to serve as measuring stick
The reigning Stanley Cup champions are always going to be the big target, a way for the likes of the Flyers to measure their progress. Philadelphia had not won on the road since Oct. 22 and the victory put an end to what had been a nine-game slide on the road, going 0-4-2.
In fact, former Kings forward Wayne Simmonds said the result showed that the Flyers can “hang in with the big boys.”
It’s nothing new, of course. The Kings went through this after they won their first Stanley Cup in 2012. They are just seeing, all over again, that they are rarely going to face even a B-effort from the opposition.
Sutter, of course, is keeping a close eye on it all. He was asked if he looked at the standings.
“Every night before I go to bed and every morning when I get up,” Sutter said. “And that’s a fact.”
Scoring drought surfaces again
The Kings are hovering near the middle of the NHL pack in terms of goals scored per game -- 2.63 -- putting them 16th in the league, just ahead of the Flyers, as of Sunday morning.
Kings center Anze Kopitar, who has led them in scoring the last seven seasons, continues to struggle through one of the tougher stretches of his career with five goals and 12 points in 27 games. He has gone nine games without a goal and has two points in his last eight games.
Their power play continued to struggle -- going 0 for 5 on Saturday. They rank 19th in the league in that department. In their last six games, they are 2 for 19 on the power play and both those power-play goals came in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Arizona.
“If you get shots, that’s what you want,” Kings center Jarret Stoll said. “We have a structured power play and the one unit does their thing. We do our thing and as long as you get shots through to the net, you want to outman them at the net….You got to get pucks through, you can’t get them blocked.”