It’s pretty much standard operating procedure to note that special teams will play a big part in a game, but the season series between the Kings and the Vancouver Canucks drives the point home. The Kings are 2-1-0 against Vancouver this season, including one shootout win. In their regulation win, the Kings scored one power-play goal and were perfect on the penalty kill. In their regulation loss, the Kings scored one power-play goal but allowed two. In the shootout game, each team scored one power-play goal. Win the special-teams battle, win the game. That’s not such great news for the Kings. Even though they’re 4-1-0 in their last five games, during that span the Kings have scored only one power-play goal and allowed three. Darryl Sutter kept it typically simple when asked about the power play.
SUTTER: “They’ve got to score. It’s not just about generating opportunities. They’ve got to score. That’s what it’s about. You look at it tonight, and that’s an important part of the game. Both teams are teams that draw a lot of penalties. Your power play has to be good and your penalty killing has to be good.’’
To Sutter’s point, the Kings have had 260 power-play chances this season, eighth-most in the NHL, followed directly by the Canucks, who have had 258. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was asked about the rivalry with the KIngs.
VIGNEAULT: “They had won six in a row, so obviously they’re on top of their game right now. Our expectations are to keep winning, but we’re going to have to make sure we’re on top of our game tonight.’’
The Canucks, of course, are without star forward Daniel Sedin, but Darryl Sutter wasn’t in the mood to talk about Sedin, when asked if his game plan would change against the Canucks tonight.
SUTTER: “Not really. It’s a pretty well-balanced team. We feel fortunate they could fit us into their schedule tonight. … All you have to do is listen to everything. You can’t imagine how they could lose a game, again. You ask about the Sedins. Our team has played without a pretty important offensive guy [Simon Gagne]. I think I’ve seen him in two games. He hasn’t played much here this year at all. In the scope of things, he’s a pretty important guy for our team too.’’