May 20, 2012
Kings' power-play stumbles proving costly
By Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency
LOS ANGELES -- The Boston Bruins proved last year you can win a Stanley Cup with a power play that should be pictured on a milk carton.
The Bruins won despite having the worst power play -- it fizzled with just an 11.4% success rate -- among the teams that won at least a round.
It's looking right now like the Los Angeles Kings, if they are to win a Cup, are going to have to do it the same way.
The Kings went 0-for-6 in their 2-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes Sunday and are now just 2-for-23 (8.7%) in the Western Conference final. Those two goals came in Game 2 during 5-on-3 advantages.
Despite that, they still lead the series 3-1.
The power play struggles get a pass when the Kings win, but when they lose, it's going to be a topic.
"If you just look at zone time, we probably have it in there most of the time, right? You start each series on its own," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "We scored the two 5-on-3 goals, which made a difference, which won us the game there. Tonight the power play ... we had looks up top, we took too much time. We basically never really looked at it, but I'm going to bet that (Coyotes forwards) (Boyd) Gordon, (Antoine) Vermette and probably (Taylor) Pyatt blocked more shots, pucks just hitting them in the pads.
"Quite honestly, that's poor shooting on our part from up top from guys that are supposed to take that shot."
The Coyotes blocked a dozen shots on the day, with Pyatt and defenceman Michal Roszival leading the way with three each. Vermette had a pair, including a wonderfully executed slide to turn back a Kings' shot while killing a penalty.
"We had our opportunities on the power play and we didn't cash in," said Kings forward Anze Kopitar. "We lost the special teams battle tonight and we have to make sure we correct that on Tuesday."
Adding insult to injury, the winning goal by Coyotes captain Shane Doan came on the power play.
"It's one of those things where you just have to keep working on it," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "In Game 2, we found ways to get power-play goals -- granted they were 5-on-3s -- but they were big goals for us."