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Can the LA Kings cure their playoff scoring woes?

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – One goal isn’t a magical cure that breaks a scoring slump. 

It takes effort on a lot of different details in a game to try to get on a roll – at least according to Los Angeles Kings forward Marian Gaborik who has scored 386 goals in his NHL career.

“You try to gain confidence by doing little things. Whether you get a good shift, a good chance and obviously a goal is the biggest helper for guys that score goals,” Gaborik said. “Overall I think if we play solid overall game it gives confidence to us as a whole team.”

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That’s generally the Kings’ overall mindset, but takes extra significance as they head to the San Jose Sharks for Monday's Game 3 of their first-round series in an 0-2 hole. It’s not about trying to break the game open every shift, but instead chipping away at your opponent to create breakdowns that lead to a goal. 

“If you’re getting the chances, you have to make sure you bear down on your opportunities,” forward Tyler Toffoli said. “Every single shot, every single goal counts this time of year. Whatever I can do to help scoring with making good plays or creating space for other guys to score, that’s what matters.” 

Much of the Kings’ woes in their first-round series have been heaped upon first-line center Anze Kopitar who’s notched just one assist and one shot on goal. But for LA it’s gone deeper than Kopitar.

Toffoli, who led LA with 31 goals in 2015-16, has no points and is a minus-3. Sniping center Jeff Carter has been LA’s top offensive threat in Games 1 and 2, but he has just one goal and a minus-2 rating. Defenseman Drew Doughty, who often controls the pace of LA’s attack, has no points. The Kings’ most aesthetically pleasing goal this series has come from third line grinding forward Trevor Lewis. Two of their goals in Game 1 bounced off Sharks players. Rarely have they beat San Jose clean this postseason. 

The best way the Kings can try to score is by sending throngs of players at Sharks goaltender Martin Jones and hope they can create some confusion with a net-front presence.

In the playoffs, generally one team punches and then the other team adjusts to counterpunch after a loss. The Kings haven’t significantly altered their game yet, and regressed offensively from Game 1 to Game 2 of their series. In Game 1 they scored three goals and held a lead twice before losing. In Game 2 they were held without a goal until late in the third period.

“It’s almost there, but close isn’t good enough this time of year,” Toffoli said. “That’s one of those things where you have to get to the net, make some traffic in front.”

The goal LA scored in Game 2 came on the power play with Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Vincent Lecavalier hounding Jones and keeping the play alive. This type of score is likely the template for the Kings as they try to get back in the series.

“You look at Vinny’s goal. It’s a scramble and you’re digging away and eventually they’re going to go in,” Toffoli said.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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