Although there were times (and there too many to mention) that we just wanted to slap Jack Johnson or Drew Doughty upside the head for being sloppy with the puck or lazy in their own-zone, we simply cannot deny just how dominant the Los Angeles Kings have been defensively not only in 2009-10 but this past season, as well.
2009-10 was a breakthrough year of sorts for the Kings from a defensive standpoint and they answered the bell this season as they continued the trend in 2010-11. In both seasons, the Los Angeles Kings ranked 3rd overall in both total shots against and shots-against-per-game.
Determined to end their eight-year playoff drought, general manager Dean Lombardi proved just how important defense was as the 2009-10 Los Angeles Kings made a prime example of how to keep the puck away from their own net. That season, the Kings allowed 2260 shots, which turns into an average of 27.6 shots per game. In both categories, only the Chicago Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils gave up fewer shots making for a lower average.
2010-11 was more or less the same story. This season, the Kings surrendered a total of 2288 shots. Only the St. Louis Blues and New Jersey Devils surrendered fewer shots. On average, the Kings allowed 27.9 shots per game. Again, only the Blues and Devils finished with lower averages.
Although their 2010-11 totals were slightly worse than their totals the previous season, it barely made a dent as far as the Los Angeles Kings were concerned. Like the Shots For stats, where a team ranks in the overall Shots Against categories may not amount to much as far as the big picture is concerned. Having said that, though, it is apparent that the Kings have their heads on straight in the defensive department. So, for those that say defense wins championships, I both commend them and agree with them to an extent. Defense winning championships isn’t always the case but it certainly never hurts.
One of the main reasons, if not the main reason, the Los Angeles Kings were lost for so many years was their lack of defense. Players like Scuderi, Martinez and Greene may not be the biggest stars in the league but they are huge reasons why their team’s defense is so successful. It’s also an added bonus to have such great goaltenders like Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier because as great as the D-men are at keeping the puck out of harm’s way, they know that even if a few shots get through, it won’t warrant much cause for concern.
The defense of the Los Angeles Kings provides such a great balance for themselves: during the few times the D-men can’t bail their team out, the goaltender can. This is exactly what the Kings and their fans have been wanting all these years. We really can’t ask for much more than that, can we?