November 2, 2011 1:15 pm

Even-strength scoring not there yet

A couple days ago, the Kings’ standing, in terms of some of the major statistical categories, was examined here. One area that’s not specifically broken down by the league is 5-on-5 goals per game, an area in which the Kings have been seeking improvement. So far, in terms of overall 5-on-5 goals, they’re tied for 21st, with 16 goals in 11 games. Philadelphia leads, with 27 in 11 games, while the New York Islanders are last with 10 in nine games. For the Kings, that’s average of 1.45 goals in 5-on-5 situations, compared to last season’s total, which was an average of 1.80. So that’s actually a small backward step, so far, although the pain has been dulled by the improved power-play numbers. Still, Terry Murray wants improvement.

MURRAY: “We need that 5-on-5 scoring. We’ve talked about that over the past three years, that it has to be significantly better. That’s the same position that we’re in today. It has to be significantly better. I think it starts with our shot attitude, mentality. We’re 27th in the league today. Pucks to the net, I think we’re averaging just a touch above 27 per game, and that has to be the start of it. Get more pucks to the net and better traffic. We need more around the net. I thought, the one thing out of the three games we just played, is that we probably let the goalie see too many pucks that were coming toward him, and making it look a little too easy for him. So, net traffic. The other part of it, if you go back to the end of last season, and the offseason, we talked about the power play, and what it is that we wanted to see. My comment, at that time, was to get some movement going. It’s no different now, 5-on-5.

“I think we’re a little stagnant at times. We’re looking to pass the puck into the net from stationary situations, and that’s a really hard thing to do in today’s game. You have to break teams down, their structure on the defensive part of the game. That comes from movement with the forwards. It means more involvement from our defensemen. Doughty, Jack and Martinez are three guys, in particular, who are comfortable to get involved in the offensive part of it. And I don’t mean joining the attack or the rush, the initial rush. I’m talking about plays in the offensive zone. There’s a cycle, and jumping through, getting to the net. Just becoming a decoy sometimes, to be a distraction for the defensive team, is a good thing. We show it at times, but it needs to be on a consistent basis so that there’s more instinctive offensive-zone play.’’

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