The Los Angeles Kings stumbled to a 0-2-1 start this season, their worst since 2001-02.
So what is wrong with the defending Stanley Cup champions? Plenty, as you can see:
Injuries hit this team hard. No.1 center Anze Kopitar (no points, minus-2 rating in two games) is still trying to get his legs back after suffering a knee injury playing in Europe. Defenseman Matt Greene suffered a season-ending back injuries and defenseman Willie Mitchell has been sidelined by a knee injury.
The Kings have yet to score a power-play goal this season. Against all odds, they went 0-for-8 against the Oilers while suffering a 2-1 overtime loss in Edmonton. At least Los Angeles hits some posts in that game. “I guess it's a good thing we're getting our chances,” defenseman Drew Doughty told the Los Angeles Times. “But at the same time, I think we can be getting more chances. We've just got to bear down and score. We can't use the bounces going the wrong way as an excuse.”
The top Los Angeles forwards need to get going at even strength, too. Mike Richards has no points and a minus-3 rating after three games. Dustin Brown has no points and a minus-5 rating in three games. Dustin Penner (no points, minus-2 rating in two games) was a healthy scratch for the game in Edmonton after starting the season sluggishly.
Coach Darryl Sutter is hoping for a stronger overall showing today in Phoenix. He will take another look at veteran winger Simon Gagne, who will play on a line with Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan.
“I liked our game in Edmonton,” he told the Los Angeles Kings Insider. “I liked it for the most part in Colorado, so that means we should be getting there. We got a really young defense and we need the pace of our forwards to be a hell of a lot better to help them out. It’s not hard to figure out. It’s nothing more than that.”