The gaps between goals grew longer for Mike Richards than seemed possible for one of the NHL's premier two-way centers, capped by a 26-game famine from mid-January to mid-March.

There's more to his game, but the Kings needed him to fortify what they tried to pass off as an offense. And he knew his struggles meant opponents could key on Anze Kopitar and more easily shut the Kings down.

"You don't want to lose confidence. You start looking at the stat sheet maybe and get frustrated," Richards said.