How the Los Angeles Kings Are Bending but Not Breaking to Start 2014-15

The Los Angeles Kings’ 4-1-1 record to begin the 2014-15 season is deceptive. Head coach Darryl Sutter’s club has not performed well in the least, allowing scoring chances galore and handily losing the puck-possession battle.

Despite those significant blemishes, L.A. has managed to gut out nine of a possible 12 points while only conceding 1.67 goals per game.

This is not a matter of clever schemes or team-wide defensive excellence. Thus far, the Kings have bent without breaking on the strength of two individuals.


Jonathan Quick

L.A.’s early-season doldrums are nothing new, but its horrid possession numbers are.

Through six contests, the team ranks 23rd in the league in Corsi percentage at 47.6. In 2013-14, the Kings sat atop the NHL at 56.8 percent.

Injuries and fatigue from three straight lengthy playoff runs are likely contributing to this dip in play, but it remains a cause for concern.

To this point, Quick has allowed the club to stay afloat with stellar goaltending. The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner hasn’t looked this calm and assured in net since the 2013 postseason, when he posted a 1.86 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

At present, he sports a 1.86 GAA and .951 save percentage.

One of his most noticeable issues last year was an inability to consistently find pucks through traffic. In 2014-15, the acrobatic netminder has tracked plays superbly.

Last week, the Kings were dominated by the St. Louis Blues to the tune of a 43-18 shot disparity. However, L.A. never buckled because Quick repelled all comers.

On the penalty kill in the second period, he keeps his eyes peeled on the puck, inching away from David Backes' screen to remain square to Kevin Shattenkirk at the point:

In the third frame, Vladimir Tarasenko negotiates a pa...

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