Three things to know about Kings during the Olympic break
The Kings have seemingly been in a freefall since the holidays. The Olympic break will provide some much-needed respite for some, even head coach Darryl Sutter said he will welcome a mental break after Monday night’s loss to the Blackhawks.
Going into the break, the Kings are in third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points and are still holding off the Coyotes and Canucks. They ended a brutal schedule with a 2-1 overtime win over the Blue Jackets but still have work to do.
Here are three things to know about the Kings during the Olympic break.
As much as Sutter has changed the lines trying to find some sort of offensive spark, don’t expect it to end until this scoring drought comes to an end.
The Kings rank 29th out of 30 teams in the league with 2.25 goals per game. The running joke is that the Kings should just "decline" all penalties these days since they’re only scoring on 13.6 percent of their power play chances.
Goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones are forced almost nightly to turn in near-perfect games. The defense is taxed.
The last week saw Tyler Toffoli skating on the top line along with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. It seems to be a good fit with Toffoli on the left and Carter out on the right.
"They’re both really easy players to play with and they make things easy for me," Toffoli said. "You look at some of the opportunities they create for themselves and they’re pretty unbelievable players so I think you just kind of let them do what they do and go to the net."
News that Colin Fraser cleared waivers Sunday afternoon was followed by the news that he was assigned to the AHL for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The move was about salary cap flexibility and it’s difficult to determine just how much the Kings value Fraser at this point.
The trade freeze will be lifted following the Olympic Games, but this move could be an indication that others will soon follow.
Playing from behind
The Kings did something they haven’t done much Thursday night when they came from behind to beat the streaking Blue Jackets. It’s a subject the team has lamented during the recent skid, and although they were able to battle the Blackhawks hard last week, a 3-2 deficit then turned into an insurmountable 5-2 deficit.
"It is tough chasing leads," Sutter said, following the win over Columbus. "We have done that all through the stretch, we have come back. We have won in two tough buildings and we finally got it off here at home."
The Kings are now 4-13-0 when trailing after one period and 4-19-1 when trailing after two. However, they have had the edge over their opponents in overtime (9-6) and shootouts (6-4). The ability to come from behind means less pressure on Quick and the aforementioned taxed defense, which is never a bad thing.