March 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Kings’ power play: the Carter effect

On Feb. 23, the Kings had a power-play success rate of 15.3. The next day, they traded for Jeff Carter. The next day, they played Chicago and scored two power-play goals, which seems to have kick-started a power-play surge. In the nine games since the Carter trade, the Kings have scored six power-play goals on 21 chances, for an outstanding success rate of 28.6. Overall, they’re up to 16.5, which is 19th in the league. That’s not great, but if the Kings can maintain their defensive success, both at even strength and on the penalty kill, they would be fine even if the power play is just average.

Carter has scored two of those six power-play goals, and according to Darryl Sutter, Carter’s arrival has produced a trickle-down impact. It allowed the Kings to put Dustin Brown on the second unit — he has three power-play goals since Carter’s arrival — and it allowed Sutter to reconfigure his first unit to put players in situations he feels are better for the team.

SUTTER: “It is a big part of it. When you move Richards back to the point, you try to get Kopi and Richie in the middle of the ice more and you get Carter utilizing his shot more, and King being a net-presence guy with a good stick, there are defined roles on all really good power plays. There are defined roles, and then there is execution. So if you don’t have that clear guy who is the net guy, or that clear guy who is the shooter on his off side, or that clear guy who is making the quick play up top, or the clear guy who is in the slot shooting the puck, you don’t have good power plays. That’s the way it works. It’s based on skill. Then the next part is based on the execution.’’

Question: It seems like you’re in a stage now where, even if you don’t score on the power play, you’re threatening and generating some momentum…

SUTTER: “What you’re trying to get is quality opportunities, and then shoot the puck into the net. This team had a really bad habit of trying to pass the puck into the net. You can’t do that in today’s game. Power plays are (about) getting in a really good shooting position and pounding it. And then, if you get it back again, pound it again. The teams that are struggling on power plays, the game has changed a lot in that part of it. It used to be a quarterback and little quiet plays. Now it’s about moving the puck and shooting the puck, and you have to have the skill set to do that and you have to have the discipline to do that.’’

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