How the Los Angeles Kings Can Turn Special Teams into a Strength

For a club that controls the bulk of even-strength play—leading the league in Corsi percentage—the Los Angeles Kings sport one major area of concern: special teams.

These are the situations that can allow L.A.’s opponents to gain a foothold in games and cost the Kings points.

If we extrapolate the Kings’ power-play and penalty-killing performances over 60 minutes, their plus/minus rating would be minus-1.2. In other words, their special teams are hurting them in a bad way.

Whether opponents are exploiting the Kings’ inconsistent penalty kill or generating momentum by stifling L.A.’s power play, the squad needs to elevate its performance in these departments. Special teams will become increasingly vital in the postseason, where a single goal can make all the difference.

Merely breaking even in this respect would give the club a leg up in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. A couple of minor tweaks, though, could turn these situations into outright positives.

As of March 18, the Kings’ penalty kill ranks 11th in the league. That’s certainly a decent place on the totem pole. Unlike in recent seasons, though, the unit doesn’t feel impenetrable. It doesn’t seem as though L.A. can lock it down when it absolutely must.

Meanwhile, the power play ranks 25th. Given the talent on the roster, that’s not acceptable.

As Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider notes, the Kings have recently been turning the tide on special teams. Here’s how they can further shore up their PK and PP to become a greater threat in the Western Conference.


Penalty Kill

Give Kopitar a Break

As a minute-munching, first-line, two-way center, Anze Kopitar is one of the most valuable forwards in the NHL. At 6’3” and 225 pounds, his possession game is superb and he can use his frame...

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