(Very) special teams

The Kings’ power play has been better of late — 3 for 14 in the last four games — but the Kings face a major challenge tonight from San Jose’s penalty killers, who are outstanding. San Jose leads the NHL in penalty-kill percentage (87 percent), and the Sharks have killed 19 of 20 penalties in their last five games.

Terry Murray talked about the Sharks’ penalty kill this morning, and also talked about the strength of penalty killing in the NHL in general…

MURRAY: “Penalty killing is so aggressive now. It’s incredible how it’s changed, just over 10 years. Teams are on the pressure full-ice, 200 feet. They’re making you make great decisions below your own goal line, to start the breakouts. Whenever there’s a bobbled puck, or pucks on the boards, everybody is reacting and pushing hard. One guy goes, and the other three are following, and it’s very difficult to have a very successful, high-percentage power play against some teams.

“Some teams’ penalty killing is outstanding, and San Jose is one of those teams. So we’re going to have to have close support for each other, manage the puck very well, make some hard, strong plays on the power play and try to buy some time for some guys to be able to make some plays.”

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