The Kings are near the top of the league in fewest goals against. Their offense is ranked 30th.

The Lightning are near the top of the league in offense and goals scored. Their defense is ranked 30th.

Each team sucks for different reasons.

Tonight, one team will suck less.

Who will it be?

It makes me sad to say that Jarret Stoll and Dustin Penner are very close to reaching a “dead to me” status. If I am Mike Richards, I look to my left and right and wonder what the hell I did to deserve these two as my wings.

If Jarret ever wants to wear an L.A. Kings jersey beyond this season, he will get his floating and offensively challenged ass in gear. I wonder if the arthritis and/or hand injuries he had last season have taken a toll or an unspoken turn for the worst. I don’t see him even trying to get open for the shot anymore.

As for Penner, eat more pancakes.

If there are no line changes, and if memory serves me correctly, Clifford was on the Richards line. There were so many adjustments made in the last game (third period to be exact), I couldn’t keep up.

I read Alec Martinez will play in Slava Voynov’s place. Showcasing Alec? Maybe. Doubt it. Who knows.

The first line looks good. Justin Williams has that “swagger” in his game. Kopitar is Kopitar. Like a young Joe Thornton. Brown has picked up the hitting as a power forward should.

Loktionov is still looking for his first goal, right? Brad Richardson has, what? Three? Lewis? Two? Pathetic.

What is Dean Lombardi to do? This is the price you pay for being overly focused on defense and goaltending (and building a damn good D by the way) and not bringing balance to the team. We unfortunately reap what he sowed.

Bottom line: The L.A. Kings have to win as a team. Each line must play the same game. There is a reason Darryl Sutter constantly expresses or implies that there is no 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th line. He is exclaiming that the forecheck, getting the puck in the scoring zone, net presence, offensive creativity (notice how many one timers the Kings now attempt each game when we used to see it once every few months?), back checking and defense is each line’s equal responsibility. We are not talented enough at wing to rely on our talent at wing to win games, not with players like Stoll, Penner, Lewis, Richardson, Westgarth, Hunter and even Clifford being relied upon to score goals on the left and right.

It’s win(g) by committee where every player reads from the same script, plays the same aggressive game or collectively fails.

Unfortunately, I still see a team that, at times and when they are at their worst, playing like it has the components of a scoring line, checking line, a shut down line and a “classic” fourth line. That is not what Sutter is preaching. His words could not be any more clear to me. The boys have to break out of this funk wherein they are reverting to bad habits and failing to play an aggressive 3 man forecheck with an active D1. They must do that on a consistent basis if they want to cure their offensive ills.

Will they do it? Are two consecutive road losses enough? Will Dean Lombardi draft another defenseman in the coming draft? All good questions.

This is your open forum.