Will special teams make the difference in series? - LA Kings Insider

It’s not difficult to predict that special-teams play will play a big part in this first-round series between the Kings and the San Jose Sharks. In the regular season, the Kings ranked 21st in power-play efficiency and fourth in penalty-kill efficiency, while the Sharks ranked second in power-play efficiency and 24th in penalty-kill efficiency. The team that can maintain its special-team strength and improve its weakness might have the upper hand.

Going deeper into the numbers, the teams were close to equal this season in terms of 5-on-5 scoring. The Sharks scored 154 goals while the Kings scored 148 goals. In terms of 5-on-5 goals against, the Sharks allowed 133 while the Kings allowed 141. In terms of power-plays goals, for and against, the Sharks scored 68 and allowed 56, while the Kings scored 47 and allowed 40. Of course, in facing a strong power-play team such as San Jose, the Kings can greatly help themselves by staying out of the penalty box as much as possible, a strategy that certainly had the endorsement of Terry Murray…

MURRAY: “That’s always important in the playoffs. You don’t want to bring the referees into the game. You want to make sure you’re playing the game the right way, hard between the whistles, and then you try to eliminate that hooking, reaching-in stuff that end up being cheap calls that you don’t like to kill off as a team. So, knowing that going in, we know that (Sharks) power play is one of the best in the league. They showed us some unbelievable stuff in the last game that we played against them. Penalty killing is going to have to be really good. The reads are going to have to be sharp and right on the mark in order to get through any kind of penalty-kill situations that we have. I don’t want to see us get into a situation where we’re looking at relying on our penalty-kill guys too many times in the game.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.