While their power play could use some improving this coming season, the same cannot be said for the penalty-killing efficiency of the Los Angeles. It’s simple. When down a man (or even two), the Kings usually have everything working, which is why their 87.0% efficiency on the kill ranked them 4th overall this past regular season.
Overall, Los Angeles’ 38 power play goals against ranked them 6th overall and, when on the disadvantage, it really didn’t matter where the Kings were. Los Angeles’ 86.3% efficiency on home ice had them 4th overall and their 21 goals against had them tied for 11th overall.
On the road, the Kings were 5th overall in penalty-killing efficiency but their 87.9% was a better number than their home total as was their 17 goals against, which ranked them 3rd in the league.
While the defense of the Los Angeles Kings certainly deserves an ample amount of credit, it’s no argument that the team’s best penalty-killer was their goaltender. While Jonathan Bernier sometimes helped out, it was Jonathan Quick who regularly shut the door, leaving his opponents scratching their heads. The Kings allowed 293 shots while shorthanded, which was good enough for 25th overall. That stat alone would be enough reason to worry – but not for the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings even got a little offensive too as their nine shorthanded goals was the fifth-most during the regular season.
In the playoffs, the Kings were actually a significant threat when they were shorthanded. Never mind that they had a playoff-best 92.1% efficiency (88.9% at home, 93.9% on the road) but they scored five goals while shorthanded, which led all teams in the post-season.
Of course, while Quick was admirable between the pipes, Los Angeles was able to benefit from a full-team effort to not only keep the puck out of their own net but by making things happen at the other end of the ice.
The strength of Los Angeles’ penalty-kill has gotten gradually stronger with each passing season and that makes me even more eager to see how it fares in 2012-13.
Photo: Courtesy of Ross D. Franklin/AP