Dean Lombardi: LA Kings Are A “Playoff-Type Team”

LOS ANGELES — Before Terry Murray took over as head coach, the Los Angeles Kings were a mess. They could score goals, but they gave up so many more that they found themselves hurtling into the abyss, ending the 2007-08 season tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 71 points in the standings, the fewest number of points out of the thirty teams in the National Hockey League.

That team scored 2.76 goals per game (GPG), ranked thirteenth in the league. But they allowed 3.21 GPG, ranked 28th in the league, just 0.03 GPG better than the league-worst Lightning and the Atlanta Thrashers.

To make matters worse, the Kings were ranked dead last on the penalty-kill with a dismal 78.0 percent rating.

Indeed, one look at the 2007-08 Kings on defense made many people exclaim “yikes!” In fact, yours truly heard that very word numerous times that season in the Bob Miller Press Box at Staples Center when the Kings’ defense failed miserably again and again.

Murray came on board the following season and taught his young players how to play in the defensive zone, and his efforts paid off as the team allowed 2.76 GPG, moving up to eleventh in the NHL.

Perhaps more impressive, the 2008-09 Kings ended the season ranked seventh on the penalty-kill with an 82.9 percent rating, a significant improvement over their 2007-08 numbers.

But the 2008-09 Kings still finished 26th in the league standings with 79 points, primarily because they struggled mightily to score goals.

That season, the Kings scored just 2.46 GPG, ranking 27th in the league. What saved them from an even worse fate was that they earned a 19.2 percent power play rating, ranking 14th in the NHL.

This season, Murray’s Kings are one of the best teams in the league in scoring, averaging 2.90 GPG (eighth in the league) with an 18.7 percent power play rating (eleventh in the NHL).

The Kings were on ...

About the Author