Stronger finishes needed
Looking for a couple reasons — at least statistically — why the Kings are in a 1-4 slide? In their first 15 games, which included 12 wins, the Kings outscored their opponents 18-8 in the third period. In their last five games, they have been outscored 10-2 in the third period. That’s a big problem, as is the Kings’ recent tendency to give up one-goal leads in the second period or beyond, something they were usually solid at least season. Murray was asked about what needs to change in that area…
MURRAY: “You’ve got to execute the right way. You watch the game, behind the bench, and review it again the next day, and you’re just seeing breakdowns in structure and system. That’s where you really have to think the game, put the breaks on in some situations, slow down and stay available to each other. The classic of, `I can make the home-run play’ starts to come into effect all the time. The puck is down low, below your goal line. You have possession and we’re trying to find options on the breakout, and we have some guys standing at the red line, thinking, `If you get the puck to me, I can do a lot of great things here to turn this thing around.’ It’s totally the opposite.
“That’s where you have to come back and stay close together, support each other, come up the ice with five, with speed and make little handoff plays to get an attack going. We’re inconsistent in that area right now, so it’s going to be important, against this hockey club, that we’re doing the right things. They’re a very explosive team. Turnovers are going back at you right away, and we’re going to have to make sure that we’re strong through the middle of the ice.”