Coach Darryl Sutter had a solution Wednesday to the Kings’ penalty-killing woes during Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. Don’t take so many penalties. Don’t take them in bunches. Don’t make it easy for the opposition to get so many scoring opportunities.
The Flames scored three times with the man-advantage, ending the Kings’ streak of 14 consecutive successful penalty-kills. The Kings scored a power-play goal and also had a shorthanded tally, underscoring the importance of special teams play.
The Kings’ penalty-killing is clicking at a respectable 83.7 percent (7 for 43), ranking 12th in the NHL going into tonight’s home game against the Phoenix Coyotes, which made their 50 percent success rate (3 for 6) against the Flames so noteworthy.
“I think it’s based more on the amount of time we’re out there, right?” Sutter said. “Every team, if you give them more than three opportunities, they’re going to get opportunities, meaning, we took too many penalties.”
The Kings made it through the first period without visiting the penalty box, but then couldn’t seem to stay out of it. Worst of all, center Anze Kopitar took a holding penalty in the neutral zone with 2 minutes, 12 seconds remaining and the Flames scored the winning goal with 30 seconds left.
“We took too many penalties,” Sutter said. “We took six penalties after the 2-minute mark of the second period. If you killed all of them, that’s 12 minutes (shorthanded). That’s 12 out of 38 minutes. Our best penalty killer is ‘Kopi’ by far, and the penalty that’s taken (last), he gets to watch it.”