Los Angeles Hockey: Prudential Center
June, 8, 2012
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
NEWARK, N.J. -- Except for some better results, not much has changed on the power play the last two games.
The Los Angeles Kings combined for three goals on six man-advantage opportunities in Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, as many as they scored in the previous 14 playoff games.
The Kings split the last two meetings with the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center, leaving them with a 3-games-to-1 series edge heading into Game 5 on Saturday night at Prudential Center. Another win and L.A. will clinch its first Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
Justin Williams, who scored a power-play goal late in Game 3, said a variety of factors have accounted for the unit’s recent surge in production.
“There’s no secret to a good power play,” he said. “Shots, screens, tips, rebounds. It’s all of those things. An extra effort on a goal, getting in front of the goalie, just out-battling the four guys with one of your five out there.”
The Kings didn’t have a power play in Game 3 until the third period, when they were protecting a 2-0 lead. That gave the coaching staff reason to tinker with their personnel, keeping the first and second lines together with two defensemen, rather than their normal set of a fourth forward stationed at the blue line alongside a single defenseman.
L.A. scored on both man-advantage situations to finish off the 4-0 victory.
Dustin Brown wasn’t sure if the change in personnel helped spur the power play in Game 3, but “you’re more comfortable playing with your line,” he said.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said the decision to go with line combinations in Game 3, rather than his usual power-play combinations, was purely strategy and not a result of the team’s lack of production with the man advantage.
“It’s more time and score and those sorts of things,” he said.