The lasting image of the Kings’ loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday might be of the Kings passing the puck around on their 5-on-3 power play, and not shooting (or scoring). Beyond not generating goals, play like that drives coaches (and fans, no doubt) crazy.
It goes back to the “shot mentality” that Terry Murray so often talks about, and after today’s practice, Murray talked more about the emphasis he has put on it, particularly on the power play.
MURRAY: “We post, in the players’ change room, a board where, every day it’s updated, and it’s the number of shots that each individual on our team takes, as compared to the top players in the league. We just go with the top 10. It’s awareness to it, that you have to shoot the puck. You see where Ovechkin is leading the league all the time. Last year, it was huge, 500-plus, but he’s the top goal scorer also. There’s a comparable there. That’s a mindset.
“We talk on the power play, and we were just practicing it out there again. The guys on the back end, with Jack and Dewey [Drew Doughty], shoot the puck. Jack’s got a great shot, wrist shot and slap shot. Shoot the puck. Kyle Quincey stepped in here last year, and I thought he gave our power play a big boost. Why? He shot the puck. Just got it to the net. That’s all it was. He would take a wrist shot, shooting for sticks, looking for something. He wasn’t trying to score. He just wanted to get pucks there, for loose pucks and rebounds. We have young guys. We’ll stay on it.”
On the other hand, there’s this today from Anze Kopitar, in which it isn’t quite clear if he’s 100 percent into the “any shot is a good shot” mentality on the power play…
KOPITAR: “Yeah, we’ve got to shoot more, but first and foremost we’ve got to create good shots, not just shoot to shoot and have shots. There’s some set plays that we have. You have to execute. That’s the thing. You’ve got to pass the puck on the tape, or right in the wheelhouse where the guy can shoot it and gets the one-timer off. It’s just recognizing the moment, what the killers are giving you. I thought (the Flyers) killed off really well. We should have done something different, but that’s behind us and there’s a new game tomorrow. I’m sure, if we get a chance, we’ll be ready.”