After Justin Williams gave what I thought were some good thoughts on the Kings’ power play, I decided to ask Terry Murray if he saw any themes, in recent games, that pointed toward the Kings’ struggles at critical times on the power play…
MURRAY: “There’s not one or two specific things. When you have issues with your power play, a lot of time it starts with the breakout and getting possession in the offensive zone. Most of the time, that is what it comes down to. I think we can all look back over the last several games, in power-play situations, and see that that has been the area that concerns us the most, getting the puck up the ice and then getting it off the boards in the offensive zone. I think that sometimes when we do make a decision to get it in deep, the support is not quite there, fast enough. You do have to outnumber the opponent to get possession and make plays, and our gap ends up being just a little bit too big, too wide, and it gives them an opportunity to clear pucks down the ice. To me, that’s probably the area to address the most.”
Question: Does that go a long way toward explaining the difficulty you seem to be having recently, getting set up on the power play?
MURRAY: “It all starts with the faceoff. Your faceoffs are in the offensive zone. So being faceoff-ready is part of what you saw in the practice today, at the end. We did work on 5-on-5 (faceoffs), and that was also meant to put a focus on special teams. But you need to be ready. All the players on the perimeter, the forwards and the D, there’s loose pucks, 50-50 pucks. Against Calgary, in particular, I felt we should have had a better dig-in attitude and come up with our share of them. If you’re not, obviously you’ve got to go back and regroup and breakout, and you’re killing valuable time. We’re trying to bring attention to it.”