March 1, 2012 4:00 pm

Carter steps into major special-teams role

The previous post talked about the power play, and the apparent improvement in the past three games. Is it just a coincidence that those three games included Jeff Carter? Acquired last week from Columbus, Carter has yet to record a point but has been a presence on the power play, because of his laser shot and his willingness to go to the net to make things happen. Carter and Mike Richards, an even-strength pair, are playing on the power play together, although the Kings are increasingly looking at Richards on the point. Carter is a finisher, and Darryl Sutter noted today that Carter’s skill set is very valuable in terms of helping the Kings generate more quality scoring chances.

SUTTER: “He’s always been a power-play guy. He’s a shooter. He’s a guy who, in his career, he can go to where the puck is. He knows where the puck is, and that’s where a lot of his goals come from. You can use him on the speed part of it, entering the zone and things like that, but most of his goals come from getting to that (scoring) area, and then he’s got that release. He’s had a couple great chances in every game, and most of them come from him making the play to get it. So, that’s good. I don’t think he’s an opportunist guy. I think he’s force-the-issue and hit the hole, those type of guys.’’

Question: You’ve also been using him on the penalty kill as well…

SUTTER: “He has played three games and he has had three big travel days. I had no intention of playing him, early, on the penalty kill. I wanted to save him. But the first game that he was here, our penalty killers were in the penalty box. We talked to him about what our killers do. I wanted him as the seventh guy, and spot him, but it didn’t work out like that. He’s a good penalty killer. He’s such a good skater. He’s got a good stick and he gets in lanes. A lot of the top offensive guys don’t want to kill penalties, for whatever reason, or they’re not very good at it. But they think the game so good that they’re thinking like the offensive guys. So if they really have a purpose, in wanting to do it, they’re really good at it.’’

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