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Kings hope to spark power play

10/20/2010

EL SEGUNDO -- Anybody have a jump?

The Kings power play unit has been one of the least productive in the NHL this season, prompting coach Terry Murray to search for ways to re-charge the group during practice Monday.

Through four games, the Kings have scored one goal in 16 extra-man opportunities, placing them 28th in the league in that category.

Before the 90-minute practice at the Toyota Sports Center, the Kings held a meeting in which they viewed film from the Vancouver game Friday. They then spent a good chunk of time and energy working on their power play.

Murray didn’t alter any set ups, he just gave the players extra repetitions in hopes they’d become more consistent in their execution away from the puck.

"The key to our power play is getting shots in traffic around the net," said winger Dustin Brown. "A lot of our goals are going to be off second chances on the power play."

Murray was also looking for a solution to the 20 odd-man rush opportunities the Kings have allowed this season. He said it's becoming more common for NHL defensemen to join the offensive attack and out-number defenders.

"If you miss that assignment, just by a few feet and get turned the wrong way, you’re going to see an odd-rush coming at you right from their blue line," Murray said. "We brought awareness to that through the meeting."

Maybe that holdout wasn’t such a good idea

Patrick O’Sullivan is still trying to regain the shooting touch he enjoyed as a member of the Kings for parts of three seasons. He tallied 53 points while playing all 82 games during his second NHL season in 2007-08, then held out the following training camp in hopes of securing a long-term deal.

That only agitated general manager Dean Lombardi, who traded O’Sullivan to Carolina in March 2009 for current second-liner Justin Williams. At the time, many looked at the deal with skepticism, as O’Sullivan was still a young player with considerable upside, while the oft-injured Williams had combined to play in only 69 games the previous two seasons.

O’Sullivan has since been traded twice more and most recently signed a two-way contract with the Carolina Panthers, who face the Kings at Staples Center on Wednesday. Times have gotten so tough for O’Sullivan that he was a healthy scratch Thursday against Ottawa.

He returned to the lineup Sunday against Vancouver and scored just his second goal since January in a 5-1 loss.

Meanwhile, Williams has been one of the sparks for the Kings this season, scoring four points in four games to help the team to a 3-1 start.

"It will be good to see him, personally," Brown said of O'Sullivan, his former linemate. "We’re pretty good friends and we had a good time while he was here."