Opportunities far outnumbering goals for Kings

Opportunities far outnumbering goals for Kings

Published Jan. 20, 2012 5:36 p.m. ET

The work ethic is there. Forechecking, puck pursuit, speed – it's all being performed at a high level.

Brad Richardson, Andrei Loktionov and Trevor Lewis have found the chemistry – they just haven't found the goals.

"We're all kind of faster, speedier guys and like to get on the forecheck and like to create havoc on their D and look for turnovers," Lewis said. "We've just got to keep going and hopefully bury a couple."

The three players have combined for two points in January, a Lewis breakaway goal against Dallas that was assisted by Richardson. While there are other lines more heavily counted on for providing offense – and the trio has done a good job of raising the team's energy and forcing their opponents back on their heels – head coach Darryl Sutter would like to see better results considering the chances they've produced.

"Three or four scoring opportunities and no goals," Sutter said about the line's performance in a 2-1 shootout loss to Calgary on Thursday. "Our third line's got to start scoring some goals for us. You do the math. How many goals has the third line got? They're working hard, doing a lot of good things for us, giving us energy and doing a lot of good things, but we want them to be better on faceoffs, we want them to be better finishing. I mean, Trevor is right now carrying that line. The other two guys can play better for us."

Loktionov has seen his confidence grow in the offensive zone, and his speed and skill meshed in a performance this week that allowed him to create several quality scoring chances. He's also been encouraged to shoot the puck more often.

"I think it's coming. I'm working hard," Loktionov said in gauging his performance. "Shoot the puck every game, like two or three shots a game – just keep it going."

Though there's still offense to be had, Lewis spoke highly in regards to his center's skill.

"He's really creative," Lewis said of Loktionov. "He likes to make plays, and me and Richie kind of just have to get open when he has the puck because we know he's going to do something good with it. Confidence is high, we've just got to put one in the back of the net."

Sutter's shootout scrutiny

The glass half full/half empty question came up several times this morning after the team's 10th overtime or shootout loss Thursday, which is tied with Florida for the most in the league.

While Sutter acknowledged that "shootout losses are because you didn't score enough goals for 65 minutes," it appears as though he leans towards the optimist's camp.

"I kind of always take the high road and say we got one (point)," he said. "You've got to get points, one way or another. That's what you're trying to do."

He also discussed the challenges of evaluating the best teams in the league due to inflated point totals affected by the prevalence of games that go beyond 60 minutes.

"That's why there's no way of predicting who the best teams are. It's almost impossible to do," Sutter said. "We played a game last week – there were five games that impacted us, all of them were three-pointers. So, how do you even predict what it is? You know what? The best team is your favorite team."

On how the Kings could improve upon their 4-6 shootout record, which includes losses in four of their last five shootouts, Sutter joked, "Throw a curve, throw a frickin' knuckleball. What do you guys want?"