LA Kings: Plain and simple, team must clean up penalties

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The LA Kings have to stay out of the penalty box on Saturday night.

Yes, it’s one game. Yes, the LA Kings haven’t played against another opponent since mid-March 2020. Thursday night’s game was purely lost because Los Angeles failed to stay out the penalty box. The second period was chock-full of man advantages for the Minnesota Wild — five to be exact.

The Kings were able to put three goals on the board – and three goals from within five feet of the net, no less – but Minnesota was able to climb back into the game because LA was on the penalty kill for much of the game. They carried the momentum from the second period over to the third.

After Victor Rask sniped one past Jonathan Quick not long into the final period, it felt inevitable the Wild would even the box score. Credit the Kings, though. They killed off all six of Minnesota’s power plays, a primary focus in camp.

“We worked on both [PK and PP] throughout training camp,” said head coach Todd McLellan. “I thought the early power play was a little bit ragged, the ice was a little sticky, things didn’t go our way. But we got a power play goal, which is really important. And the penalty kill got a lot of work tonight, did a really good job, starting with the goaltender. I’m disappointed that we had to do that much work.”

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“I thought we lost a lot of players in the second period that were important in the first because of lack of ice time. I think that affected us a little bit in the third. So clean up the actual penalties, not necessarily the penalty killing, and it would certainly help us.”

The Kings dominated in the faceoff and shots-on-goal departments, but they also led the way in blocked shots, attributed mainly to killing off penalties. However, some sloppiness needs to be corrected before these two teams meet again on Saturday.

Los Angeles had eight giveaways, including a critical error in their own zone, leading to the Wild’s game-winning goal in overtime.

Reinforcements coming for LA Kings

The Kings placed defenseman Mark Alt and goalie Troy Grosenick on waivers Friday, clearing a path to return to the AHL. And as was hinted by [Todd] McLellan in Thursday morning’s media session, the LA Kings are likely getting their third pairing and backup goalie out of NHL protocol, as Kurtis MacDermidSean Walker, and Cal Petersen were deemed unfit to play earlier this week.

Clague didn’t look great in just his fifth NHL game. Alt was appearing in his 19th game. There was a lot of experience missing on the back end. Get the reinforcements back and clean up the penalties for Saturday night.