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KINGS FYI

Hot streaks continue and Drew Doughty joins the fun

The star defenseman finally scores his first goal as the Kings win their eight consecutive home game to start the season. They've also won six in a row overall.

November 14, 2010|By Helene Elliott

The Kings extended several team streaks during their 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday at Staples Center, but a few individual efforts stood out, too.

First, the big-picture stuff:

They won their sixth straight game and improved their home record to 8-0-0, setting a franchise record for most consecutive home wins to start a season. They didn't win their eighth home game last season until Dec. 7, in their 14th game at Staples Center.

They also killed five penalties to remain the only team that hasn't allowed a power-play goal at home. They're 31 for 31 at home and have killed 22 consecutive penalties home and road.

Their 12-3-0 record is their best after 15 games and the most points (24) they've had after 15 games. And they improved to 9-0-0 when they score the first goal.

"I think everybody's playing a really solid team game, which helps," center Anze Kopitar said Sunday. "Keeping those streaks alive, it's a good sign. It shows we have improved in areas where maybe we needed a little improvement. Especially the home record. Last year it wasn't as bright as we wanted it to be. So this year we just wanted to get off to a good start at home.

"And the overall start is not too shabby, so we just want to keep it going."

Now for the close-ups:

Defenseman Drew Doughty knew he would score a goal sometime. But after a Norris Trophy-runner-up performance last season and heightened expectations for him and the Kings this season, his inability to score was weighing on him.

That burden was lifted Saturday, when he fired a shot from the left side during a power play to cap the Kings' scoring and get the zero out of his goal-scoring stats.

"I thought I was creating opportunities in the games before that but the puck wasn't going in for me," Doughty said Sunday before the Kings left for Monday's game against the Sharks at San Jose.

"I knew it was a matter of time and that I had to stick to the basics and keep everything simple. It was huge to finally get that goal. I know I'm expected to put up some points and to finally be able to do that builds my confidence back up again, and hopefully they keep coming."

Kopitar scored twice Saturday, his first multi-goal game. He had five multi-goal games last season in compiling a team-leading 34 goals.

He acknowledged Sunday he was concerned about his low goal total.

"If I'd say no, I wasn't thinking about it, I don't think I'd be really honest. Obviously you want to score goals but the team's doing good," said Kopitar, who has six goals and 16 points.

"I was getting assists, so it's not like I went pointless for however many games. But I don't care. It's really the team effort and the team that's doing well. That's enough for me. We just want to keep the same thing going."

Brown misses practice, rejoins team

Team captain Dustin Brown was permitted to miss Sunday's practice for personal reasons. He rejoined the team for the flight to San Jose.

Rookie Brayden Schenn replaced Brown during practice alongside Kopitar and Scott Parse. "A little change," said Schenn, who has been scratched the last four games. "I'm sure it was just a one-day thing but it was a change and a little excitement, I guess."

Schenn can play one more game before his pro contract kicks in, and the Kings seem content to carry him as a spare forward for now. He said he hasn't been told anything about his future.

"I take it one day at a time and we'll see what happens," he said. "Just keep working hard and practicing and other than that I don't have a lot of news. …I'm learning lots. Learning a lot more than I would in junior, I think. It's good. "

Coach Terry Murray said he has talked to General Manager Dean Lombardi, his assistant coaches and players about Schenn. "Having him here right now is OK with me," Murray said. "He's going to learn. He's going to work hard. He's going to watch NHL hockey games and that certainly will have an impact on his development.

"It gets to a point where I might have to put him in. I'll see how that goes. But right now everything is OK until further notice from management. This is what we have and that's a good thing."

Slap shots

Parse has recorded an assist in each of his last three games, reflecting his growing comfort with his linemates. "They're All-Star players," he said. "We've been going good the last few games." He said regaining his timing and conditioning are his main issues after missing the first 11 games because of a groin injury, and he's eager to get his first goal. "That would be the goal here," he said. "But the line's scoring, we're winning, so you can't complain about that."

Murray said goaltender Jonathan Bernier will start Monday and that both Bernier and Jonathan Quick will play as the schedule intensifies with a home game on Wednesday followed by a trip to Buffalo, Boston, Ottawa and Montreal.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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