Once they settle down and starting moving the puck around, they look like a potent power play. Unfortunately, it’s how long it takes for the Los Angeles Kings to get to that point. In yesterday’s case, they looked good generating chances only in the final ninety seconds of regulation. Their efficiency on the power play in the last couple of months has been suspect, to say the least, but when they go 0-for-8 against the 29th-ranked penalty-kill in hockey, something has to change.
Since Darryl Sutter took over behind the bench, the issue of the power play no longer falls squarely on the shoulders of assistant Jamie Kompon but the entire staff as a whole. Usually, this would be a promising sign but after yesterday’s showing, that’s not the case.
A loss is a loss and as ineffective as the Blue Jackets have been this season, they’re nowhere near as bad as the 1974-75 Washington Capitals or the 1992-93 Ottawa Senators. With that said, though, these are the games the Kings need to wake up. If they don’t win, fine, but it was the on-ice quality (or lack thereof) that bothered me yesterday.
Heading into yesterday’s game, the Los Angeles Kings had to have known what they were up against. With a penalty-kill as futile as Columbus’, I would have expected the Kings, as shoddy as their work on the man-advantage has been thus far, to score after even three power-play. Yesterday morning, if you were to tell me that the Kings would have had eight man-advantages against a team whose penalty-kill ranks next-to-last in the entire NHL, I would have been prepared for the goal light to burned out at Staples. Alas, that wasn’t quite the case. In fact, the only time the goal light lit up was when the Jackets scored.
So, 0-for-8. How do you explain that? They’ve got the talent, they’ve got the ability so what’s the issue? Some have said that the Kings aren’t used to afternoon games because that’s usually when they take their pre-game naps. That may be the case but they surely saw this game on the schedule for some time now. I’d ask why they just didn’t sleep a few extra hours the night before but there’s no sense beating a dead horse.
Darryl Sutter has said that his team needs to crash the net more and I agree. I think the Kings are getting better in that department, albeit baby steps. Having said that, they need to do a better job of screening the opposition’s goaltender considering, while Curtis Sanford did play very well, he saw a good majority of those shots fired at him before they even got to him.
Of those eight man-advantages, two of them were of the two-man variety while another was a double-minor. How could the Kings have not scored even just once? While they were 6-on-4 late, the Kings finally seemed to get their act together and move the puck with such fluidity. Good, yes, but I’d rather not wait until the final ninety seconds of regulation to see this. The Kings are much better than that and I’m sure they know it.
With Terry Murray gone, I want to see all the negative aspects of the Kings’ game under him gone – and the lacklustre power-play is on the top of that list.
The Kings are currently tied for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West and the one they should really thank for being where they are is their goaltender, Jonathan Quick. Unfortunately, since one of the few things Quick cannot do is score goal, the Kings need to find another way to start putting pucks in the net, especially when they’re up a man or two. They need to do this – even if it kills them.
Photo: Courtesy of Fuckyeahhockeybamps