Sunday, May 20, 2012
Kings powerless to stop Coyotes in Game 4
By Dan Arritt
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings have yet to get plugged in on the power play this postseason, and their shortage of goals with the man advantage finally led to a blackout Sunday afternoon in Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes.
They went 0-for-6 with the man advantage in the 2-0 loss at Staples Center, a defeat that prevented them from completing their second straight series sweep and advancing to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in franchise history.
Now it’s on to Game 5 on Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz. If the Kings hope to put away the Coyotes, they’ll likely need to take better care of their opportunities.
They’re 6-for-70 with the man advantage during the playoffs, a percentage (8.6) that dwarfs their power-play efficiency during the regular season (16.9), and that number ranked in the bottom half of the league.
“We had our opportunities on the power play and we didn’t cash in,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “We lost the special teams battle tonight and we have to make sure that we correct that on Tuesday.”
More concerning, the unit seems to be getting worse as the playoffs roll along. In the past 11 games, they’re 3-for-58 with the man advantage. Of the six power-play goals they've scored, three came with a two-man advantage and another in the final seconds of a five-minute major penalty.
“It’s one of those things where you have to keep working on it," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "In Game 2, we found ways to get power play goals, and granted they were 5-on-3s, but they were big goals for us. We have to just keep going.”
In Game 4, the Kings were able to keep the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches on the power play, but had trouble getting the rubber through the wall of defenders that packed in front of the net. The Coyotes finished with 12 blocked shots, half coming on L.A. power plays.
"We had looks up top. We took too much time,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “Quite honestly, that's poor shooting on our part from up top, from guys that are supposed to take that shot.”
Justin Williams said the Kings need to have better placement on their shots.
"You have to shoot for sticks," Williams said. "If you can’t get the puck through, our forwards have got to get available. [The Coyotes] seemed to front every puck today, especially wrist shots. We had a lot of shots on net, but I think we had just as many blocked. Hats off to them for playing a good game, blocking shots and playing well."
Now it's up to the Kings to block Sunday's performance from their minds and get back on track. A power play goal or two would go a long way toward putting that in motion.