The big-budget Los Angeles Kings are threatening to miss the playoffs.
How could this be? This team has tons of talent. It already made a coaching change, from nice guy Terry Murray to taskmaster Darryl Sutter.
Jonathan Quick has been exceptional in goal. The addition of goal scorer Jeff Carter gave the team a second offensive line to support the Anze Kopitar line, with Justin Williams and Dustin Brown on the wings.
And yet L.A. somehow lost at Columbus and then blew an opportunity to win at Detroit against the depleted Red Wings. The Kings allowed two goals in the final with two goals in the final 4:02 in their come-from-ahead loss.
Center Mike Richards must play better. He made some epic mistakes at Motown.
“We need our big centermen,” Sutter told reporters. “We talked again this morning. You need your centermen to be dominant players in the middle of the ice . . . Kopi and Mike and Jarret (Stoll), they’ve all got to be major contributors.”
Defenseman Drew Doughty also must play better. He and Rob Scuderi also suffered breakdowns in their own end of the ice.
Scuderi told Los Angeles Kings Insider that his team needs to sustain their late leads.
“It’s something that we’ve been good at for a couple years now,” he said. “I think we had a game vs. Phoenix, earlier this year, and this one. Those are two games and, you look at it now and we gave up three points in those two games. We would like to have those right now.”
The Kings visit Chicago next, facing a Blackhawks team that has won four of their last five games.