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HOCKEY

Kings will stick with the system

Despite a discouraging loss to Oilers and a 1-3-1 slump, they won't make major changes.

November 04, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings center Anze Kopitar, left, and Edmonton center Sam Gagner chase after the puck during the Kings' 3-0 loss Thursday. The Kings are hoping to get back on the winning track Saturday against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kings center Anze Kopitar, left, and Edmonton center Sam Gagner chase after… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Justin Williams flipped through the mental list of possible descriptions of Thursday's showing against the Edmonton Oilers and the Kings right wing quickly rejected most of them.

This was the day after the Kings produced a season-low 19 shots on goal in a 3-0 loss to Edmonton, having failed to score in back-to-back games at Staples Center. They are 1-3-1 in their last five games after opening 5-1-1.

"We'll be fine. It's discouraging, but we can't be discouraged. We need to push forward and realize the second or third opportunities are going to be the ones that are good for us right now," Williams said Friday after practice. "Just to get a lot of guys who are struggling to score. … I guess that's everybody.

"It's tough to isolate one thing. It's just overall. Obviously last night was just … let me think of a nice word. It just wasn't simply good enough offensively. We were pushed off pucks."

Instead of going straight to the video, Kings Coach Terry Murray opted for words in a team meeting before practice. He kept the lines in practice the same as in the Edmonton game, opting against major modifications. He thought that changing things would be "too easy," but said he would decide on the lineup later in the day or Saturday morning.

Said Murray: "You put the onus right back on the players by keeping them together."

He said Jonathan Quick would start against the Penguins on Saturday night and indicated Jonathan Bernier would soon get another start in what will be a busy upcoming schedule.

Mike Richards thought sticking with the system and belief in it would ultimately pay off, rather than over-thinking matters.

"It's funny how some points of the season, the net looks like a soccer net and sometimes when things aren't going very well, it looks like a mini hockey net," Richards said. "But like I said, you've just got to stick with it. It's going to happen."

Then there's the continuing issue of the struggling Dustin Penner. Penner has one assist in 10 games this season, and his ice time against the Oilers was 13:27.

"We talk about the confidence," Murray said. "I think there's a little bit lacking there on the puck-possession side of his game right now. I'd like to see him have the puck on his stick longer periods of time to get his feet going, to carry the puck through the middle of the ice and challenge defensemen more. He's got size and strength and he can take the puck to the net. We're starting to see better skating in the last few days.

"He's a goal-scorer. He's got great hands, incredible shot and we need to find a way to get the puck to him at the right time too, to be able to finish. There's a little bit of a combination of three, four things right now that's off."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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