In less than one week, the Kings have already played three games, two on the road, and have lost each game. Although the defending Stanley Cup champions earned a point from last night's overtime loss to the Oilers, the absence of their top defensemen is truly felt.
Matt Greene, alternate captain and defenseman yesterday went under the knife to treat a herniated disc, which he injured during the team's home opener last Saturday. Another key defenseman for the Kings, Willie Mitchell, is still recovering from knee surgery, which took place during the off-season.
Both players are veterans and leaders, and were instrumental in the Kings' championship run last season. Although solid play has been delivered by other players like Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov, there is at times a lack of cohesion and aggressiveness on the ice.
On the offensive side of things, team captain Dustin Brown and alternate captain Anze Kopitar, both on the top line, are struggling to score. While Kopitar has had a few shots ring off of the post, and Brown has the second highest shots on goal this season (tied with Doughty at 8 shots on goal), neither has actually been able to find the back of the net.
Unfortunately, the losses have overshadowed last night's strong performance of goaltender Jonathan Quick, and winger Kyle Clifford's rise as the team's point-earning leader.
It remains to be seen whether the issues currently holding back the Kings will persist, but if their surge late last season proves anything, it's that the Kings know how to fight uphill battles.
The Kings wrap up their three-game road trip at Phoenix tomorrow night. The Coyotes currently have one win and three losses.