Los Angeles Kings’ Defense Shaping Up Just in Time for Playoff Push

For most of the 2014-15 season, the Los Angeles Kings resembled last year’s high-octane, Stanley Cup-winning squad...without the postseason intensity.

In other words, they lacked the fire to offset their sloppiness.

That’s changed, though. Riding superb individual showings until their collective game rounded into form, the Kings have reeled off eight straight wins. Lately, those victories have come on the strength of stellar team defense.

General manager Dean Lombardi further bolstered the back end on Wednesday by bringing in a major piece ahead of the trade deadline.

Because defense wins championships after all, the Kings are reasserting their emphasis on stifling opponents instead of trying to outgun them. More importantly, they're accomplishing this just as they enter the homestretch.


New Face

As reported by ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, L.A. offered a steep return to acquire Andrej Sekera’s services. However, a club in win-now mode needs to pony up if it wishes to, well, keep winning.

Sekera should help that cause.

In fact, the 28-year-old may well be granted a chance to play on the first pairing alongside one of the league’s elite defensemen in Drew Doughty.

This chart, which matches Sekera's numbers in various metrics with performance tiers, provides a glimpse into his skill set:

His puck possession is solid and he produces plenty of shot attempts. Carolina’s offense was markedly stronger with him on the ice. In terms of goals-for percentage, many of Sekera’s most frequent on-ice teammates have fared better with him around, too.

It’s worth noting that he accomplished this while facing stiff competition that would rank second on the Kings’ blue line. That augurs well for a playoff push in the stacked Western Conference.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Kings