The Los Angeles Kings had not scored four or more goals since November 17, in a 5-3 win over Anaheim. They have recently scored four goals in one week, taking down a first place Vancouver Canucks squad, 4-1 on December 31, and a competitive Phoenix Coyotes squad 4-3 in a post-Christmas tilt.
Is this the result of new head coach Darryl Sutter’s influence? Who knows? What we do know is that this offense was sorely lacking for Los Angeles up until recently, and it has led to a more competitive Kings’ team. The scoring was distributed among several Kings’ players in those two games, with only Brad Richardson scoring twice. And it was nice to see Anze Kopitar break out of his goal drought and notch his eleventh on the season.
The Kings offense has also been helped of late by the return of Mike Richards to the ice. Coming back on December 22, Richards promptly contributed to a Los Angeles victory netting his twelfth goal of the season. He would score again in the very next game for L.A., and overtime loss in San Jose. You can bet that Sutter is glad Richards is healthy and on the ice again.
Notwithstanding a recent one goal performance in an overtime loss to Colorado, the Kings have been producing recently in the offensive zone. Anze Kopitar also got back on track, scoring a goal and breaking out of his drought against Vancouver.
What’s behind this resurgent Kings’ offense? Is it Sutter? Is it Richards? A combination of the two? Hard to tell right now. The one thing we can tell, is that the Kings seem to be back on track and sitting nice and high in first place in the Pacific division.
Scott is a published writer and editor in the sports, fitness and business fields. He currently covers the Washington Capitals for The Hockey Writers. Based in the New York metro area, he is a Villanova University alumnus.