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February 24, 2011 1:07 pm

Penalty-kill unit put to test again

The Kings’ penalty-kill unit has been strong of late, and figures to get another test tonight against Minnesota. Last night, Anaheim — which is a top-five team in power-play efficiency — got only one power play and did not score. Tonight’s opponent, the Wild, rank seventh in power-play efficiency and have totaled six power-play goals in their last six games. Here’s what Terry Murray said today about defending the Wild’s power play…

MURRAY: “They’re a power play that has structure, but they’re really smart. They read off what’s there. They don’t get real specific as far as what they have to do, with the system and style. They’re instinctive. They have smart players. Koivu, who I know is not in the lineup tonight, is one of the critical guys for them, but Cullen is really good at seeing the ice and making plays. They react to what the penalty killing is going to give them. They’re effective against any team because of it.”

As for the Kings’ power play, it actually hasn’t been seen since Saturday in Long Island. Last night, the Kings failed to get a power-play opportunity in a game for the first time this season, and the Kings are 1-for-15 on the power play in their last seven games…

MURRAY: “The power play, I think it’s been pretty good, actually. We might not get some results that we want all the time, but the structure, the zone time, has been pretty good. I think we’re moving well off the puck and getting pucks to the right places at the right time. There’s a lot of penalty-killing teams that are excellent at shot blocking right now, and we just need to find a way to get things through that first layer and get it to the net. What’s going to be real important, if we do get one here tonight, is getting big-time traffic on Backstrom. He’s one of the better goaltenders in the league, and when he sees the puck from anywhere, he’s going to be able to stop it. So net presence is important.”

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