Both the penalty shot and the ensuing clean look that Anze Kopitar had ended badly in the Stadium Series, as has much in the Los Angeles Kings’ five-game losing streak that trails them to Monday’s game in San Jose.
“When you have good opportunities and don't score, you've just got to finish those opportunities,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said Saturday night after his team’s 3-0 loss to the Ducks, in which Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller stopped all 36 shots at him.
That’s where the Kings (29-18-6) find themselves as they confront the Sharks (34-12-6), who’ve won six straight, followed by a Tuesday game at the Phoenix Coyotes.
The NHL-leading Ducks are now 19 points ahead of the Kings and Sutter said late Saturday night, “You really think you’re going to close that?”
What’s missing are the remedies to improve an offense that’s ranked 26th in the league in goals per game (2.38) and has converted just three of its last 31 power plays -- none in four chances Saturday.
“We definitely had trouble finishing,” Kopitar said of Saturday’s loss. “I had a couple good chances and should’ve scored -- the penalty shot -- but we didn’t, and we’ve got to in a couple days."
He said the Kings will “work on our game and on stuff that usually makes us successful, and play with desperation now because we’ve lost five in a row and need to get back on the winning track.”
Kopitar said he wanted to slip the puck under Hiller on the penalty shot, “but I shot it too high.”
Hiller was good, but when Kopitar was asked whether he is tiring of crediting others, he answered, “Yeah, just like that.
“It doesn’t matter if we have 30 shots, if there’s a goose egg on the scoreboard, it doesn’t do us any good,” he said.
Kings center Dustin Brown joined Sutter in banking on the character of the 2012 Stanley Cup championship team to shine eventually. Brown said no special address to the team is necessary.
“This season can be a grind,” Brown said. “It’s going to take 20 guys every night, that has to be our mentality. The leadership in this room has taken us this far. We understand as a group we have to find ways to get points. We need to figure it out.
“We’ve been through a lot worse than this right now, it’s just a matter of rallying. We have enough veterans -- enough know-how -- to understand what we need to do.”
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said his team’s large lead over the Kings is irrelevant, given the Kings’ ability to win a Stanley Cup as an eighth-place Western Conference finisher.
“We have a tough schedule,” Sutter said. “We really didn’t come home [after a trip that started going south in Detroit on Jan. 18]. It’s a tough part of the schedule, you just have to go through it. Been a tough month.”