2. Not-so-special teams
The Kings and Red Wings enter this contest with nearly identical team stats. Unfortunately, both teams are struggling to kill off penalties with a lack of scoring on the powerplay. The Kings went 1-for-4 on the man advantage in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators, with former Red Wing Martin Frk accounting for the lone tally.
Meanwhile, a strength last season, the Kings’ penalty kill has been awful this year. Against the Predators, Los Angeles gave up two goals on the penalty kill in three chances. Over their last ten games, the Kings have given up nine goals in 33 opportunities (72.7%).
“Let’s face it, our team needs to improve in the special-teams area,” said LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan after Thursday’s game. “We concentrate on that, we work on that and it just needs to get better. If this group wants to move forward and go where it needs to go, the penalty kill has to get better and the power play has to get better.”
On the other bench, the Red Wings haven’t been much better. They come into this game with the second-worst powerplay unit, converting at a lowly 14.0% while killing off penalties slightly better than their counterpart at 77.7%. However, they’ve been somewhat improved over their last ten games, allowing five goals on 24 chances (79.2%).