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The Key Three: Dec. 10

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
The three key aspects of the Kings’ 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars...

1. Not enough killer instinct
The Kings didn’t lose because of a lack of scoring chances. They lost because they didn’t convert them. That might seem to be an obvious point, but there’s a clear distinction, and it starts with attitude. Too often during this recent stretch of few goals and few wins, the Kings seem to be playing with a ``don’t lose’’ attitude instead of a ``win’’ attitude. That manifests itself on the ice, in terms of how the team reacts in critical situations. It’s about attitude, and the responsibility for that is with every individual but, collectively, with the coaching staff and the team-leadership group, to help put the team in the proper mindset.

2. First-period penalties
For a team such as the Kings, that has been struggling to score, the first goal is huge. So what did the Kings do coming out of the gate? They took an offensive-zone tripping penalty less than three minutes into the game, then took another penalty at the 9:31 mark. Early penalties prevent a team from getting into a rhythm, both in terms of rolling lines and general overall play. The Kings killed those two penalties. but the third time was a charm for the Stars, who scored a power-play goal after the first of Justin Williams’ two first-period high-sticking penalties. The Stars took a 1-0 lead and never trailed after that.

3. Powerless power play

The Kings seemed to have turned the tide on the power play early in the season, when they were ranked in the top 10 in efficiency. Now, they’re 2-for-23 in their last eight games, and while the loss of Mike Richards to injury certainly hasn’t helped, the Kings generally aren’t getting the job done with the man advantage. They had a golden opportunity to tie the game when Dallas’ Stephane Robidas got called for tripping, 8:13 into the third period of a one-goal game, but the Kings generated little of substance. Overall, the Kings had three power plays, with 5 minutes, 48 seconds, of power-play time, and generated three shots on goal.
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