February 9, 2012 10:40 am

Penalty kill seems back on track

The Kings, of late, have returned to playing to one of their strengths: the penalty kill. After being ranked in the top five in the league in penalty-kill percentage for most of the season, the Kings wobbled in January. They went through a seven-game stretch in which they killed only 20 of 28 penalties and allowed at least one power-play goal in each of those seven games. Part of it seemed to be personnel. Darryl Sutter acknowledged that, in an attempt to try to keep his players fresher for 5-on-5 play, he had been expanding the penalty-kill units to include more players, rather than relying on a handful of top penalty-killers. Sutter, at that time, also addressed the simple need for the Kings to clear the puck the length of the ice when they had the opportunity. There seems to have been an improvement made of late. In the last four games, the Kings have faced only 10 penalty-kill opportunities, but they are 10-for-10.

SUTTER: “It’s been pretty good (all season), other than just before the break. You guys asked about it, and we were just getting away from a couple of the rules of it. They’re basically old-time rules. It’s shooting the puck 200 feet and taking away the middle of the ice. We weren’t doing as good a job of it for a while there.’’

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