After being unable to score a goal in the Kings’ first 17 games this season Jarret Stoll has suddenly regained his scoring touch.
The veteran center has scored two goals in his last three games, both on the power play. Stoll said he has been designated the “F3,” or most defensively responsible forward on his line, which means he must be more conservative offensively. “And it doesn’t get you any great scoring chances, I don’t think, and maybe it’s good for the defensive zone,” he said.
He also said there’s no great secret to his recent scoring spree beyond being a bit more aggressive in the offensive zone with his latest linemates, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams. He was set up nicely in the slot by Brown on Thursday for the Kings’ first goal against Carolina in their 3-2 victory at Staples Center.
“I don’t know. Just try to get to the net more and try not to be on the outside,” Stoll said after the Kings’ morning skate Saturday at American Airlines Center in preparation for Saturday night’s game against the Stars. “Brownie and Willie are great down low. They work well off each other.
“I knew something was coming from Brownie there and just tried to find that opening. That’s what I mean — just get to those openings and get to the net. Eventually something’s got to go in — a rebound or a tip or off my bum, whatever.”
Stoll acknowledged that his lack of goals had concerned him, though he has been through scoring droughts before.
“Anybody that says they don’t think about it is probably lying,” he said. “You just try to work hard and try to put yourself in those spots. You’ve got to work through it. You can’t feel sorry for yourself or get negative or down. I don’t think that will help you. Just try to stay positive, try to stay working and be hard on yourself, but try not to press too much.
Coach Darryl Sutter pointed to Stoll’s off-season hip surgery as a likely factor in the center’s slow scoring pace and said Stoll had picked up his game in some areas.
“It’s never a question of work with Jarret, that’s for sure,” Sutter said. “I think it’s the detail part of his game and he’s coming off, what, a 14-week rehab in terms of hip surgery? Which didn’t happen until July. Whereas, I’ve said several times, where most players are getting operated on in April and May, our players get operated on in July. It’s taking some time.”
We’ll leave you with one Sutterism. He was asked Saturday how the Stars’ addition of some right-handed-shooting defensemen would change their look, and this is what he said:
“Well, the guy’s batting from a different side now, so you’re pitching to him from a different angle.”
Anybody need a pitching coach? Sutter might be qualified.