December 16, 2011 3:00 pm

Kings visiting penalty box early, often

Against Dallas, it took 2 minutes, 55 seconds. Against Boston, it took 18 seconds. Against Columbus, it took six seconds. Taking penalties early in the game has become a trend for the Kings, one they would like to break out of quickly. The Kings killed each of those three penalties — and, overall, the penalty-kill unit has been superb over the last couple weeks — but taking early-game penalties means playing with fire. Not only does it give the opposing team momentum, but it taxes the Kings’ penalty-killers and gets the line rushes out of sync. Plus, eventually a team is going to take advantage of one of those early power plays, and Detroit would be a strong candidate. The Red Wings rank fourth in the NHL this season in power-play percentage, and the unit has been red-hot of late, with three power-play goals in its last four chances. The issue of staying out of the penalty box, in general, is one that has been addressed by interim coach John Stevens.

STEVENS: “We talked about it. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. Columbus’ power play is not very high in the league, but if you watch them, they’ve certainly got some dangerous players, with Carter and Nash and the like on there, and Prospal. It’s never a situation that you want to get into, and I thought it was great we got it killed off, but when you’re playing the Detroits of the league, Detroit is a team that doesn’t need their power play to win, but they can bury you on their power play. So that’s a situation we don’t want to get into.’’

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