NEWARK, N.J. -- For weeks members of the Los Angeles Kings have been quizzed about their power play, to the point where the answers blended together with each passing game.
That was because the team couldn’t score with the man advantage. Now, after two straight games with a power-play goal, there were more questions for the Kings after practice Friday -- but they were more positive queries.
“We’ve been able to shoot the puck and we’ve been able to get traffic,” forward Justin Williams said. “There is no secret to a good power play. Everyone knows that -- shots, tips, screens, rebounds.”
All of those questions before came because the Kings could not score with the man advantage. Los Angeles had six power-play goals in 16 games after Game 2 of this Stanley Cup Final -- and three of them came with a two-man advantage.
The Kings were 3-for-71 in 5-on-4 situations, a black mark on an otherwise pristine run through the Western Conference and to a 2-0 lead in this series against the New Jersey Devils. Now the Kings have scored three times in the past two games, including two in less than three minutes of the third period to put away Game 3 and another that evened Game 4 in the third period.
“We’ve been just been very opportunistic,” Williams said. “We haven’t gotten very many, and when you don’t get many power plays, you tend to put more focus on it, which you shouldn’t, but New Jersey doesn’t take many so we don’t get many opportunities.”
One of the changes in Game 3 was the addition of Dustin Penner to the second power-play unit. Penner has played with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on the second line since the start of the second round, but Richards and Carter were previously on the top power-play unit with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty.
Williams was previously on the second unit with Dwight King and Jarret Stoll. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said his reason for switching the personnel -- the Kings went with their top two lines and two defensemen on the two units -- was because the team was protecting a two-goal lead, but Penner’s big body created a screen for Carter’s tally to make it 3-0.
“Line combos instead of power-play combos,” Brown said. “I don't know if that had anything to do with it. Ultimately we're getting shots to the net.”
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