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KINGS FYI

Kings are trying to learn from early lessons

Among the issues the team is confronting is a lack of consistency and the management of Drew Doughty's minutes.

October 23, 2013|By Lisa Dillman

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Now that the first sample size has been delivered — 10 games out of a long and winding NHL season — the Kings have learned something in October.

• Consistency, where is it?

They are 6-4. Not that any team needs to be playing its best hockey in October, but the Kings seem to be lacking a bit of confidence.

"I think you have to work to get your confidence," defenseman Willie Mitchell said. "Right now, to put the pulse on it, we're inconsistent.

"…We can't wait until it's later on in the season and all of sudden get on stretches of every night preparing for these teams and preparing the right way. Maybe a little less complacency and just remembering what makes us successful and playing to those strengths."

• Management of Drew Doughty's minutes.

The defenseman played 27-plus minutes in each of the Kings' first two road games this season.

He has two goals in his last two games, his ice time has been in the 22-minute range in three of the last five games, and his average ice time after 10 games is 25:16.

"We've tried to cut his minutes back," Coach Darryl Sutter said. "It doesn't sound like much, by two or three a game, which should help his energy level. Trying to get him to be on the ice for fewer goals against.

"Trying to get him to be on the ice for more goals, five on five. Trying to get him to be a better penalty killer. He's done a good job on our power play, but that's the whole deal. You've got to be the whole package."

Penalty-killing woes

Sutter tinkered with the lines at practice and even experimented with defenseman Alec Martinez on left wing. Of course, on the Kings' recent trip, he put Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar together on a line in practice and one day later the lines were back to usual.

The Kings gave up three power-play goals to the Calgary Flames in Monday's 3-2 loss. Their best penalty killer, Kopitar, was in the penalty box when Calgary scored the game winner late in regulation.

"Every team, if you give them more than three opportunities, they're going to get good opportunities, meaning we took too many penalties," Sutter said.

"We took six penalties after the two-minute mark of the second period. You're going to run penalty killers out [of energy]. If you killed all of them, that's 12 minutes. That 12 out of 38 is too many, and our best penalty killer is Kopi, by far, and the one penalty that he has taken in nine games. And he gets to watch it."

KINGS VS. PHOENIX

When: 7:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 1150.

Record vs. Coyotes (2012-13): 3-2-0.

Etc: It looks as if the Coyotes' Shane Doan will be a game-time decision. Doan sat out Phoenix's victory over the Flames on Tuesday because of a lower-body injury.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

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