Posted January 23, 2013 on AP on Fox
Dallas_stars_v_5774
The Los Angeles Kings have yet to find their offense in getting off to a slow start after hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. Having top center Anze Kopitar getting healthier by the day could help them break out of that funk sooner than later. Kopitar and the low-scoring Kings look to avoid losing their first three games for the first time since the 1985-86 season when they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. Los Angeles began play without Kopitar, who has led the team in scoring in each of the last five seasons, and lost 5-2 at home to Chicago on Saturday. He returned Tuesday from a knee injury suffered shortly before the lockout ended while playing in Sweden, getting nearly 20 minutes of ice time but not having a shot on net in a 3-1 defeat at Colorado. "The knee feels good. I didn't have any problems with it," Kopitar, who had team bests of 25 goals and 51 assists in 2011-12, told the Kings' official website. "I pretty much forgot I was wearing (a brace) out there." That's good news for the Kings, who have seen Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan and Rob Scuderi score their goals. Those three players combined to score eight times last season, while Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams totaled 69 goals. Kopitar, Brown and Williams played on the same line Tuesday, and they combined to take only five shots. Brown and Williams have yet to register a point. "The line had a really tough night," coach Darryl Sutter said. "It was Kopie's first game, but the other two have had two tough games in a row." Kopitar, Brown and Williams were held in check last season against Edmonton, combining for two goals as the teams split four meetings. The Oilers are off to a 1-1-0 start, winning 3-2 in a shootout at Vancouver in their opener Sunday before coming out flat in a 6-3 home loss to San Jose on Tuesday. The Sharks scored twice in the first 4:30 of the game before Nail Yakupov got Edmonton on the board at the 8:25 mark. San Jose, though, scored four more goals in the first period to essentially put the game away. "That was as bad a first period as we could have had, even in your worst imagination," coach Ralph Krueger said. "If pain is going to make us a better team, that was a lot of pain right there. "It was just a complete meltdown through every single player. Sometimes it is better to lose like this than by one goal." Three of the six goals allowed in the opening period came with Edmonton short-handed. "Obviously the fans were so into it to start and it got us all excited and you let your emotions take hold and don't think about the system we're playing," forward Sam Gagner said. "We got caught running around a bit. In the second and third we settled in, but it was too late." It was the first NHL goal for the 19-year-old Yakupov, drafted first overall last summer by the Oilers.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Kings activate Kopitar, send Stewart to minors

The Los Angeles Kings have activated center Anze Kopitar from the non-roster list after their longtime leading scorer missed the season opener with a knee injury. The defending Stanley Cup champions also assigned newly acquired forward Anthony Stewart to their AHL affiliate in Manchester on Tuesday. Kopitar injured his knee shortly before the lockout ended in a collision while...

Penner benched for Oilers game

EDMONTON, Canada -- The first casualty of the Kings slow start turned out to be left wing Dustin Penner, a healthy scratch for Thursday nights game against the Oilers. Kyle Clifford will be taking Penners spot on the second line with Jeff Carter and center Mike Richards, at least at the start. Penner thought this move might be serving as a wakeup call for the Stanley Cup champion...

Kopitar ready to return?

Multiple outlets are suggesting Anze Kopitar could return from his knee injury as soon as tonight when the Los Angeles Kings visit Colorado. If that proves to be the case, the prolific forward will have missed just one game as a result of the ailment. Even if he can't quite go on Tuesday, this can be taken as a great sign that's he's very close to making his season debut...

Kings' Mitchell puts availability on hold

EDMONTON, Canada -- Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, the minister of bluntness, was at it again on this textbook winter day in Alberta. With the Kings trying to avoid a 0-3 start, attention turned to the future availability of veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell. Mitchell had knee surgery during the lockout and is moving along. Not fast enough, apparently. "You know what, he'...

TRH RECAP 2: High and Not So Mighty

KINGS 1, AVALANCHE 3 Hey, Fox Sports West... is there anyway you can tell me which LA Kings player was injured  and what the injury was and when the surgery will be? I can't quite see it. If things don't work out for Davis Drewiske as a fill-in NHL Defenseman... ...he can always be a regular cast member on Mad Men. The best part of finally...

Matthew Barry: P.K. Subban to the Kings?

Mitchell is getting older - Scuderi is in the final year of his contract - Subban and Doughty for the next 5-6 years would be just brutal to the opponents of the Western Conference. If the Habs ARE willing to deal P.K., a Western Conference team would make sense. Is P.K. a Dean Lombardi "right fit?" What would it cost Lombardi? They don't need Bernier and its...

Champs get point, but still winless

Sam Gagner scored a power-play goal 3:01 into overtime and the Edmonton Oilers rallied past the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Thursday night, leaving the defending Stanley Cup champions winless in three games this season. Nail Yakupov tied it for the Oilers with 4.7 seconds left in the third period. His exuberant celebration took him to center ice, where he dropped to his knees and slid...

Kings concede three late goals, lose to Avs

DENVER (AP) -- Gabriel Landeskog and David Jones scored 1:35 apart in the final period to help Colorado rally for a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night in the Avalanche's home opener. P.A. Parenteau also added his first goal in an Avalanche sweater midway through the third period to help the team bounce back from a season opening loss in Minnesota. Kyle Clifford...

Third-period explosion lifts Avalanche over Kings

DENVER -- The Los Angeles Kings were dominant on the road in last year's playoffs. Two games into a new season, the defending Stanley Cup champions can't win anywhere. Gabriel Landeskog and David Jones scored 1:35 apart to start the third period, Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves and the Colorado Avalanche beat Los Angeles 3-1 Tuesday night at Pepsi Center. P.A. Parenteau...

Oilers 2, Kings 1

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers, trying to wash away the bitter taste of a home-opening embarrassment, had their hands full with a Los Angeles Kings team desperate for their first win of the season. But they showed what all the buzz was about Thursday with a wild, 2-1 victory at Rexall Place. The Kings thought they had it won in regulation, but Edmonton rookie Nail Yakupov...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.