Although their power play started off well in 2010-11, the Los Angeles Kings fell on hard times in that department as the season went on. Overall, the Kings finished 21st in the league on the man-advantage with a 16.1% percentage.
Their 21st place rank this past season is a significant drop from when they finished 7th in 2009-10. During that season, the Kings had a 20.8% with the man-advantage.
So, what happened to the Kings' power-play this season? Five of the Kings this season registered five or more goals on the man-advantage, which is decent but none of those reached double-digits. Ryan Smyth led the team with nine power-play markers. Last season, Smyth's 11 goals on the man-advantage were second on the team to Anze Kopitar's 14.
Overall this season, the Kings had 499:46 of total time on the powerplay with 485:13 of that coming on the 5-on-4. Of their 272 opportunities on the 5-on-4, the Kings scored just 42 times.
Los Angeles luck on the 5-on-3 was a little better, albeit for much less time at 8:51. On 13 5-on-3 opportunities, the Kings found the back of the net four times. The Kings also scored once in seven chances on the 4-on-3 as they had 5:42 to spend with that type of advantage.
In terms of when the Kings were strongest on the power-play, it was during the second period as they score 117 PP goals in the middle frame, which ranked 7th in the league in 2010-11. Their 94 PP goals in the first period was good enough for a four-way tie for 19th in the league, their 80 PP goals in the third ranked tied for 17th in the league and their one PP goal in overtime was tied with six other teams as only two teams (Ottawa and Chicago) failed to score on the man-advantage in the extra frame.
In the playoffs against, the Kings went 5-for-22 on the 5-on-4. They went 0-for-2 on the 5-on-3 which, on the surface, doesn't look bad but that is what did them in as in Game 6 against San Jose, the Kings finished the third period with a prolonged 5-on-3 advantage with ample opportunity to force a Game 7. Unfortunately, the Kings couldn't capitalize and their season ended after Joe Thornton of the Sharks potted the winner in overtime.
So, what do the Kings need to do to improve on to have a better overall power-play in 2011-12? Many suggest that assistant coach Jamie Kompon (the team's specialist coach in that department) needs to be fired. Although I agree, I believe some players need to step up. Once they have the puck in the offensive zone during the PP (which, sadly, didn't happen as often as it should have), they need to be less reluctant with taking shots and make a blue-collar to create traffic in front of the net. That's what I personally found to be their biggest weaknesses. The Kings had enough shots on net but it really didn't seem like much being that the opposing goaltender could see most pucks coming from a mile away.
Aside from improving on what they already have, it may not be a bad choice for Dean Lombardi and company to go out and see if they can find a power-play specialist to either sign or trade for. At this point, any progress would be good progress for the Los Angeles Kings and this team is much too talented to see their skills on the man-advantage fall by the wayside.