Power Play Woes for Kings in First 2 Games

The Kings remain pointless in the first two games of the season this week after losing to the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 7 by a score of 5-1 and the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-1 on Oct. 9 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Kings begin the season having given up nine goals in two games while only scoring two, in addition to a goalless power play playing a factor in each game.

Last year, the Kings saw their power play success rate increase from the year before. In the 2013-14 NHL season, the Kings finished with a 15.1 percent success rate on the power play ranking them twenty-seventh in the league before they would go on to win the Stanley Cup. In 2014-15, the Kings’ power play improved 3.9 percent with a 19.0 percent success rate placing them eleventh in the league.

Currently, the Kings are tied for last place with three other teams (Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins) failing to capitalize on the power play. The Kings have had more opportunities than the other three teams with the man advantage and have still failed to score a goal. They’ve had quality power play chances and new roster players like Christian Ehrhoff and Milan Lucic that should push the Kings’ power play to be even better. However, it has not happened yet two games into the season.

The Power Play Thus Far

As mentioned before, the power play has been held goalless the first two games of the season and not because of a lack of chances. In the home opener against the San Jose Sharks, the Kings’ power play went 0-6. Trailing by three goals in the second period, the power play was denied the opportunity to capitalize on the man advantage by San Jose goalie Martin Jones and the Sharks’ penalty kill.

The Kings had a 5-on-3 power play during Wednesday’s game against the Sharks as San Jose forward Mike Brown was called for interference and Logan Couture was called for goalie interference 30 seconds later late in the third period. The Kings failed to capitalize on their two shots registered in the one minute and 30 seconds they had on the two-man advantage. The same struggles continued in their regulation loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

The Kings’ power play went 0-4 against the Coyotes. They registered a total of eight shots on the power play with three of those shots from defenseman Alec Martinez as he began seeing more ice-time on that unit as the game progressed.

Kings’ Power Play Units

The defensive units changed as Martinez began seeing time with Drew Doughty on the power play in the second game against Arizona. Even though the Kings had one minute and five seconds less of time on the power play against the Coyotes, Martinez’s power play minutes increased from 3 minutes and 13 seconds on Wednesday to almost four minutes and 29 seconds on Friday.

The majority of the Kings’ total shots on the power play came from the blue line against Arizona with Martinez registering three shots while Jake Muzzin had one shot as well as Doughty registering one shot. In the first game against San Jose, Ehrhoff had two shots on the power play seeing a total of six minutes and 21 seconds, but registered no shots on the power play against Arizona.

Tyler Toffoli
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The same six forwards have appeared on the top-two power play units for the Kings in both games so far this season. One line consists of Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik while the other forward group is Tyler Toffoli, Dustin Brown and Milan Lucic. Neither forward group has been assertive as Brown and Gaborik have been limited to only one shot on the power play in the first two games. Kopitar and Toffoli were both able to register one shot in each game on the power play.

It is only the first two games of the season. Two games that have left the Kings with only two goals scored, zero points earned in the standings and a power play that has not scored on the 10 opportunities they have been given. There are certainly some areas of concern for the Kings having only played two games thus far, and the power play is certainly one of them.