Los Angeles Kings’ Season-Long Issues Are Finally Catching Up to Them

After an 8-2 blowout victory over the Edmonton Oilers last week, the Los Angeles Kings fell 4-2 to that same borderline AHL team on Tuesday night.

The crucial, embarrassing loss now leaves L.A. two points behind the Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division and three behind the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference’s wild-card race.

Moreover, it served as a microcosm of the team’s season-long struggles.


Shallow Offense

The Kings’ attack in 2014-15 has been limited to one line’s intermittent hot streaks.

Jeff Carter’s unit has delivered much of the team’s offense, as his speed and shot have tormented opposing teams to the tune of 28 goals, 61 points and a plus-six rating.

Between Tyler Toffoli and either Tanner Pearson or Dwight King, the lanky pivot has enjoyed a strong campaign.

Unfortunately, L.A. hasn’t featured much punch otherwise.

Top-line staple Anze Kopitar has struggled through a languid year, firing pucks even less frequently than usual and losing more battles than we’re accustomed to. He’s registered a career low of 16 goals in a full season.

According to Behind the Net, no Kings forward has averaged a shorter shot distance this season.

Kopitar won't even look at the net unless it's a sure thing, and his reluctance to pull the trigger has stunted Marian Gaborik’s output, as opponents are opting to blanket the sniper knowing that Kopitar isn't likely to take the game into his own hands.

When head coach Darryl Sutter paired natural centers Carter and Kopitar together, both players veered off the rails.

Together, they posted a goals-for percentage of 41.7. Away from each other, Carter’s number rises to 60.6 percent while Kopitar’s reaches 57.4 percent.

Where the bottom six is conce...

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