Things seem to be pretty good under Darryl Sutter here in Los Angeles. The Kings have picked up points in 13 of 14 games so far. Goal scoring is up and the Kings are a more exciting team to watch. The players seem to have found their fervor for winning again. However, there are some things about the Kings record under Sutter that give pause for concern.
8-1-5 seems like a pretty good record. Hey, just 1 regulation loss in 14 games is pretty incredible. He’s taken the Kings from the dregs of the Western Conference back into the playoff conversation. But let’s look a little closer.
8 of the Kings 14 games under Sutter have gone to OT or a shootout. The Kings have won 3 of those contests and lost 5 of them. That’s not so hot. Even if their OT record were flopped and they had won 5 and lost 3, it’s a concern that so many games are going to overtime. The Kings have scored 31 goals since Sutter started, which is just over 2 goals per game. For every multi-goal game the Kings rattle off, there is a game with 1 or less.
The point is that the Kings have a problem finishing. It’s not a new problem at all. Look back to last season where the Kings were lights out in the shootout. They squeaked by with winning so many games in the shootout that one had to question how they would perform come playoff time when there is no skills competition to help earn points. Sure enough, 3 of the Kings playoff contests against the Sharks went to overtime and the Kings lost all of them. Had the Kings managed to win just 2 of those games they would have advanced instead of the Sharks.
Finishing off opponents is a big problem. Elite teams don’t eke out wins in overtime; they finish them in regulation.
To confuse things even more, the Kings 1 regulation loss under Darryl Sutter? It was to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the out and out worst team in the league. A 1-0 loss. Granted, bad teams have their good games and vice versa. I’m just not sure what this says about these new Kings.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Sutter is behind the bench now. He’s injected a dose of desire that was greatly needed in the Kings dressing room. The difference on the ice is palpable as well. The play is more exciting, more offense oriented, more creative and daring. However, before we start planning any parades, Kings fans need to take Sutter’s record with the Kings with a grain of salt.
I do love those suits though.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney