Los Angeles Kings: The offense is trending upwards

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 11: Dustin Brown
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 11: Dustin Brown /

In just the first week of play in the National Hockey League (NHL), the Los Angeles Kings are flashing something they didn’t do too much last year: offense.

When the Kings won their home opener 2-0 it followed a similar recipe to teams in the past.  Score first, play tough defense and get great goaltending by Jonathan Quick.

Since the home opener, though, the Kings faced to division rivals the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames, in both the games the Kings were able to get points in the standing after a win and overtime loss. The strength in both games for the Kings has been their scoring. The Kings scored a combined seven goals in their two games, last year seven goals could be a 10 game output, not two.

Leading the way have been two much-maligned forwards looking to lead the Kings back to Stanley Cup contention. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown have been paired on the top line together in coach John Stevens new system, and it’s paying off.

Both Brown and Kopitar are leading the club with five points each, both scoring three goals and assisting on two others. Kopitar who replaced Brown as team captain last year struggled in that role and saw his lowest scoring output of his career with 52 points.

Whether it was the offensive system or fatigue from a season made longer by the World Cup of Hockey, Kopitar acknowledged his shortcomings during pre-season:

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"“Playing I think it was 20 games and a lot of traveling before that took a toll on me for sure, but I didn’t want to use that as an excuse because I hold myself to higher standards and higher expectations and I’m confident that I’m going to have a better year this year.”"

Kopitar’s improvement has been helped by Brown elevating his game as well.  Scoring three goals and dictating play on offense is something few Kings have seen from Brown over the last four seasons.

Last year Brown started the season by being stripped of his captaincy, a point of pride for Brown who was the first Kings captain to ever lift the Stanley Cup.

Despite a frosty relationship with coaching and management last year Brown played as well as he could getting more than 30 points since the 2011-12 season when the Kings won their first  Stanley Cup. If Brown can continue his production then look for him to stay up on the first line with Kopitar, and perhaps the feel-good story of the year in the NHL.

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Three games do not make a season but if the Kings can consistently maintain this offensive pace then they have the talent to return to the playoffs after missing out two of the last three years.  For Kings fans that will be a welcome sight.