To his King teammates, Bryan Smolinski is known as "Smoke." So, with the veteran center mired in the longest goal-scoring drought of his career, it can be said that the King offense has been Smokeless for months.
It's a growing source of frustration for Coach Andy Murray.
"I guess he's yet to deserve it," Murray said Monday, searching for an answer to why Smolinski has not scored a goal since Jan. 17, a span of 27 games. "You could say whatever: He's not shooting fast enough; he's not shooting hard enough; he's not shooting accurate enough--everything that goes into scoring goals. Is he going into the traffic areas? I don't know if it's one particular thing.
"He's been certainly getting his opportunities lately. He's hit a couple of goal posts, had a great chance at Calgary in the slot. There's usually a reason for things, and it's usually that you're not deserving. He has to do more to deserve it."
Eric Belanger, sidelined since Jan. 15 because of a left wrist injury, is expected to return to the lineup tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.... Defenseman Aaron Miller, who sat out the last two periods of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames after suffering a right rib strain, did not practice Monday and his status for tonight's game will be determined today.
vs. Vancouver, 7:30, Fox Sports Net
Records--Kings 36-25-10-4, Canucks 37-30-6-3.
Record vs. Canucks--1-1.
Update--The Kings open a four-game homestand after a 0-3-1 trip that included a 4-0 loss March 26 at Vancouver.