The Kings offense has been all to familiar this year. Our 5-on-5 Goals For/Against ratio is 1.11 (10th in the NHL) and a 2.81 goals per game, good enough for 17th place in the NHL.
We entered the off-season knowing one thing for sure, we need another top 6 forward. With Frolov heading to New York and Alexei Ponikarovsky joining the Kings to fill the void, it seems somewhere in the mist of the Kovalchuck disaster, we forgot our top 6 forward.
The second line has been great thus far and the combination of Brown and Kopitar on the top line seems to be developing into something great, the top line left winger slot has been filled with just about everyone on the Kings roster including Parse, Richardson and various rookies.
Last year, the Kings defense emerged as one of the best the league. This year the Kings are off to prove that last year was no fluke, and with a 2.52 goals allowed per game (6th in the NHL), there off to a great start.
Third year defensive stand out Drew Doughty has been stay-at-home veteran Willie Mitchell. Though both have missed time due to injury, their chemistry has been outstanding.
Despite some poor defensive play as of late, I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button yet. Mitchell has been on IR since November 8th and is expected to be out for at least another few weeks, but the Kings seem to be missing the spark they had at the beginning of the season.
Jonathan Quick is currently 11-3 through 14 starts this season is boasts a 1.90 GAA and a .931 save percentage. Quick ranks in the top 5 in the NHL in wins, GAA and save percentage.
On the other hand, rookie Jonathan Bernier hasn’t had much success. After 7 starts, Bernier has earned a 2-5 record with a 3.29 GAA and a .899 save percentage. The concern by most Kings fans is that Bernier’s lack of success in the NHL, one year removed from the AHL’s goaltender of the year award, with break down his confidence and have trouble regaining his dominance in the crease. Last year Bernier came up to the Kings and was brilliant in three starts, earning a 3-0-0 record, a .957 save percentage, a 1.30 goals-against average (GAA) and one shutout.
Special Teams: C
The Kings power play has been almost non-existent, with a 15.5% success rate that has the Kings ranked 20th in the league. As has the Kings top line, the power play lines have seen their fair share of players and it seems they have yet to find that perfect combination of players.
The Penalty Kill, once top ranked in the league, has had its speed bumps lately. Now at 86.2%, the Kings have fallen to 6th place in the NHL.
Kings Overall Grade: B
High points in the Kings season thus far would have to include wins over Boston, Tampa Bay and also beating the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season, the Vancouver Canucks, twice.
Even after taking recent hardships into account, The Kings are currently on pace to finish the season with 51 wins and 102 points. Which is 5 wins and a point better than we finished with last season.
The Kings are 1-5-0 in their last 6 games and finish the month with games against the Stanley Cup Defending Chicago Blackhawks and on the road in Anaheim.