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Special teams playing a role in Kings’ early struggles

October 24, 2021, 2:45 PM ET [15 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The Los Angeles Kings have now dropped four games in a row, most recently falling 3-2 in overtime to the Dallas Stars on Friday, before losing 7-3 to the St. Louis Blues last night.

In the Kings’ loss to the Wild, Los Angeles dominated for the first 40 minutes. They outshot the Stars by a ridiculous margin of 45-23 in the game, and 32-15 at even strength. However, the Kings couldn’t capitalize on their chances and special teams made a huge difference. The Kings went just 1-for-6 on the man advantage, while the Stars capitalized on two of their four chances.

Against the Blues, while it was a pretty rough game and the Kings allowed a ton of chances off the rush, we did see somewhat of a similar theme, in terms of special teams. The Kings couldn’t score on their four power play opportunities, while the Blues 4-for-7 with the man advantage.

So in their three games this week (including their loss to the Nashville Predators), the Kings have gone just 1-for-12 on the power play and have allowed seven goals in their 13 times shorthanded.

Obviously it’s concerning, but there’s reason for optimism here. The Kings have performed fairly well at even strength for a good chunk of their games so far, meaning if they can get their special teams figured out, they should be in a better spot. Last season, the Kings had the seventh-best penalty kill in the league, and with an improved lineup, they should be able to get back on track. There have been other issues in their early season struggles, but their power play and penalty kill haven't helped the situation.

Despite opening the year with just one win in their first five games, the Kings have been mostly competitive so far at even strength. Being without Drew Doughty isn’t going to help their power play in the short-term and the penalty kill needs work, but if they can get their special teams under control, the Kings will be in a better spot.

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