Both teams looking for power-play boost
With Simon Gagne expected to draw back into the Kings’ lineup tonight, expect two things to happen: one, for Gagne’s minutes to be limited at even strength, given that he hasn’t played in more than five months, and two, don’t be surprised if Gagne ends up getting power-play time. Once again, the Kings are at a special-teams stalemate. Not including shorthanded goals, in the first round the Kings scored three power-play goals and allowed three. In the second round, they scored one and allowed zero. In the conference finals, they scored two and allowed two. Now, through two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Kings are 0-for-3 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. No real surprises there. The Devils are a good, aggressive penalty killing team, and they’re also disciplined, meaning the Kings aren’t likely to get as many power-play chances as they did earlier in these playoffs. That said, they’d like to get a goal. At this point in the season, the Kings aren’t going to come up with any magic formula. The key, as Dustin Brown said, is to continue working and hope it comes together at the proper time.
BROWN: “I think it’s one of those things you just stay focused on. Our percentage is not going to be good, regardless, but we have opportunities ahead of us on the power play. If you look at our power play thus far in the postseason, we haven’t scored many goals, but the goals that we have scored have been really key goals for us, dating back to the Vancouver series. Game 2, that third goal, I think that put us up 3-1 and that was a huge goal for us. Power play, sometimes you look at the percentages and you’re struggling. The flip side of that is, if we have seven or eight goals on the power play in the postseason, and five of them are big goals, that’s a big part of the reason.’’
On the other side of the ledger, the Kings have had to kill twice as many power plays as they have been awarded. The Devils had four power plays in Game 2, and Drew Doughty said the Kings would like to see that number come down.
DOUGHTY: “We’re taking some minor penalties that we wouldn’t want to take. They’ve got a good power play. They’ve got firepower up front. Our PK has been carrying us through a lot of these series. So, even though we’re confident in our PK, we can’t be giving them that man advantage.’’
The Devils, obviously, are looking for more. In the first round, they scored five power-play goals and allowed nine. In the second round, they scored four and allowed three. In the conference finals, they scored three and allowed four. Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk talked about the reduced number of power plays in this series, so far, and how to better capitalize on them.
PARISE: “Yeah, I feel like they’re not calling it as much right now so you’re not getting the five, six, seven power plays like you were in the first couple rounds. I think if one of the teams can get some momentum on the power play, that will go a long way. Hopefully, for us. The last two games we have some early power play opportunities, didn’t capitalize on them. Who knows, if you do, it can change a game around.’’
KOVALCHUK: “I think we have to be simple. That time of the year, power play has to be one pass, shot, screen, then those kind of goals, they going to go in. We try fancy stuff, it’s not going to work. We talked about it (Sunday). I think it’s going to be different (in Game 3).’’