The Kings are 2-for-42 on the power play in their last 12 games. “Awesome’’ is not exactly the adjective most people would use to describe such a unit, but that’s the word that Darryl Sutter dropped on reporters today, when asked about the struggling power play. The Kings have fallen to 25th in the NHL in power-play percentage (14.2), and it remains to be seen whether Sutter’s hands-on work with the first power-play unit yesterday will have a positive impact…
SUTTER: “Our power play is awesome, other than the 5-on-3, in the two games we just played. In Chicago we had six minutes of power play in the first period and we had 12 shots. The next part is you and me tipping one in. Literally, in the first period we had 12 shots, and we called seven of them good opportunities. I know, if I’m watching upstairs or I’m covering, I’m saying, `Oh, the power play,’ because it’s 14 percent or whatever, but you have to give them — especially the young players on the power play — you have to give them the ability to use their ability. My responsibility in that is to give them their two or three options against whoever they’re playing, get them to focus on that and then actually having the puck and making the play that they can.
“Throughout the year, their percentages are down, but for a team that’s a low-scoring team — the lowest-scoring team in the conference — they’ve scored whatever it is (number of goals) on the power play, and that’s about the middle. So, give our team credit. They’re a team that draws penalties. If we only had two or three a game, it would be different, but we’re drawing penalties, so that’s a good thing. Now it’s trying to get a half a goal per game more.’’
The stat Sutter referenced is the actual number of power-play goals the Kings have scored this season — 21 — which puts them in a tie for 19th in the league. If nothing else, Sutter seems to have a different philosophy than Terry Murray, who regularly talked about getting the puck back to the blue line.
SUTTER: “Quite honestly, from all the tape I’ve watched, and being with them, the one thing we’re trying to do more is get guys in the middle of the ice. We were a real perimeter power play, like fadeaway jumpers. They’re highlight films, but not very often are they goals. So we’re just trying to get more to the middle of the ice, that sort of thing.’’