How to get the habit to stop, and how to keep it going
A few months ago, the Los Angeles Kings were one of the few teams to win the Stanley Cup.
Since then, they’ve fallen out of the race, and while they’re not in any sort of playoff position right now, they’re still a legitimate threat to make it to the post-season.
The Kings, who have lost four straight, have gone 0-4-1 in their last six games, and have the second-worst record in the league.
They’re also the team that took a big chunk of the blame for their late-game woes, with a 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The team’s struggles have gotten to them, too.
“I’m not blaming the team.
I’m just frustrated,” forward Marcus Kruger told reporters on Monday.
“Our game is not the way it’s supposed to be played right now.
Our games are not even close.
We have to get better.
It’s time to change the culture.”
Kruger said that’s a good thing, too, pointing out that they need to get back to playing with a little more discipline and a little less self-destructive tendencies.
That’s been the theme in Los Angeles for the last few games, as the Kings have been able to score just 3.1 goals per game over their last seven games, which is tied for the second worst in the NHL.
They’ve been outscored 19-6 over that span.
“We need to be able to shoot the puck, we need to shoot with more conviction and confidence, and we need guys to get to the net,” Kruger added.
“The guys that have been playing the right way for a long time, we’ve just got to be better at that.”
That includes some players like goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was on the bench for all of the Kings losses.
“There’s not a single thing that I’m complaining about,” he told reporters, when asked about the lack of scoring.
“It’s just one of those things, I think, that I have to adjust to, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Quick’s struggles came in a lot of ways.
He was injured early in the season, and hasn’t been the same player since, so the team hasn’t seen him in the playoffs since his rookie year.
He also struggled in the first round of the playoffs last season, which helped propel them to the Stanley, but he’s been anemic for most of the season.
While the team is still in the playoff hunt, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the team and Kruger.
“When you look at how things went in the regular season, you don’t know what to expect,” Krugers said.
“You don’t have that luxury in the Stanley playoffs.”
The Kings’ first round playoff loss was a big reason for the Kings’ poor start, as they gave up eight goals in the opening period and then scored two in the third.
They went into the final period down two goals, and lost the game to the eventual Stanley champion Los Angeles Rangers.
Kruger credited the lacklustre effort of the Bruins for the Bruins’ victory in Boston, though.
“If you’re the team in that game, they don’t want to play you,” he said.
The Bruins, though, have struggled a bit since the playoffs began, as Kruger and his teammates haven’t been playing well.
“They’re not a team that’s playing their best,” he added.
In fact, Boston has only scored four goals in their past three games.
“Boston, we’re still playing the same way,” Krug said.
While Kruger is frustrated by the lack-of-play, he also doesn’t believe the Kings are necessarily to blame.
“To me, it’s not that bad,” he admitted.
“In fact, it was one of my best games of the year.
I was getting up and down and shooting the puck like I should, and I thought I had a good game.”
In the past, Kruger has said that he thinks the team could have a much better chance at winning the Stanley had he been playing more consistent.
But he said he hasn’t thought about that lately.
“That’s a part of my life that I really enjoy,” he continued.
“This is the first year in my career, so it’s been a little bit different, but it’s going to be different in the future.
I don’t think I have a big problem with that.”
It’s a tough place to be, but Kruger isn’t going anywhere.
He’s still going to play for the team, and he’s going get better every day.
And he knows that he’ll do it if he plays with a chip on his shoulder, even if he’s a bit frustrated about his team’s play.
“Just having a chip is just one thing,” he explained. “For