Strong on the kill
Last season, the Kings allowed seven power-play goals in their first three games, putting their penalty-kill percentage in a hole from which it never totally recovered. The Kings finished 20th in the NHL in kill percentage (82.9) last season, but this season they rank first in the NHL in kill percentage (91.5), are perfect on the kill at home this season and have killed 17 consecutive penalties overall. They went 5-for-5 against Dallas on Thursday despite playing their first game without Willie Mitchell and Alexei Ponikarovsky, and also killed a brief 5-on-3. Here’s what Terry Murray said today about the power-play success…
MURRAY: “We’re now into year three of putting a whole lot of pride into the special teams part of the game, in particular talking about the penalty kill. To me, that’s system, that’s pride and that’s hard work and sacrifice. There’s a lot of guys who are going the extra two feet to block a shot, to sacrifice themselves. Our goaltending last night, in particular, was outstanding. That’s the little bit of swagger we’re talking about, 5-on-5. You get into those special-teams situations and the guys really start to buy in, big time. They play hard for each other and good things will happen for you. That’s basically what is taking place right now.”
Next up are the New York Islanders, who entered Friday with the NHL’s ninth-best power play (20.8 percent).