The Kings worked on special teams before departing for Arizona on Friday, with time devoted to power play breakouts and in-zone set-up.
In a continuation from what was seen late in the preseason, Drew Doughty was paired with Alec Martinez during certain rotations of the power play drill. Obviously Jake Muzzin’s absence necessitates adjustments on special teams, but the Doughty-Martinez pairing – which also got some work in during Wednesday’s season opener – wasn’t used particularly frequently last season.
The right-handed Doughty was paired with Slava Voynov (righty) during 41.2% of power play time last year. He was paired with Jake Muzzin (lefty) 32.0% of the time and Martinez (lefty) just 11.1% of the time.
Whether a player is right-handed or left-handed affects how Doughty operates with a man advantage.
“If I’m passing to the left, I’m passing to a lefty. I’m zinging a pass over there trying to get it to him as fast as possible,” he said. “And then if it’s a righty, I’m trying to set him up for a one-timer so the passes aren’t as hard. I don’t know which I like better. I don’t know if I like the righty or the lefty better. But in the exhibition games and in the first game there, I’m not getting enough shots personally. I want to make it a focus to get the puck more and shoot the puck more.”
What impacts Darryl Sutter’s decisions on in-game power play personnel?
“Most of it’s got to do with how the other team, the pressure that they’ll put on guys playing their wrong side,” he said. “Sometimes it depends on your opponent.”
Drew Doughty, on how skating with Alec Martinez affects his power play mindset:
I guess when he has [the puck], I know he’s a shooter. So I’m not really expecting the puck from him too often. So I’m probably just going to go backdoor and go to the net and look for a rebound. Whereas if it’s Slava, I know Slava’s looking to give the puck to me more often. It’s two different players, two different skill sets, two different mindsets. I’ve worked with both of them many times and I know what I have to do differently with both of them.
Doughty, on facing the Arizona Coyotes:
This team’s a good team. We play them tons of times. We do have that rivalry with them going back to a few years in the playoffs, and they’re a good team. They’re very good throughout the neutral zone. They’re very good at gaining speed through the neutral zone, which makes it tough for us defensemen taking the rush when they have that amount of speed. I find that their power play is pretty good at home usually too over the years. So we need to keep them off that as well.
Doughty, on Keith Yandle:
He’s an extremely talented player. I think offensively, he’s probably one of the best in the league. He makes some beautiful plays out there. He’s very good defensively as well, but that’s maybe the one area where we can take a little bit more advantage of him. Because when he has the puck, it’s pretty tough to get it off of him and he makes some amazing plays.