LA Kings: The month of February team report card

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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LA Kings Drew Doughty
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Category number two: defense

Current grade: B-

Previous grade: D

This was a tough one to grade, as the Kings defense can appear to be very Jekyll and Hyde. During the February winning streak, the team gave up two goals or less in each game, and in only three of their losses did they give four or more goals. Overall for the season, they are right at the league average for goals surrendered during five-on-five play.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem too bad, right? A closer look at the numbers reveals the defense has been helped by some stellar goaltending (more on that on the next page) and perhaps even some luck. The LA Kings are giving up an average of 32 shots on goal per game, which places them at only 24th out of 31 teams in the league. The defense also seems to at times have trouble clearing out the front of their goal, which will need to be corrected if the Kings are going to be a playoff team.

To their credit, the defense corps has been a revolving door this month due to injuries and recalls. Matt Roy and Sean Walker are back, and it looks like Tobias Bjornfot is here to stay. At any given time, the Kings defense has up to four players with less than three full seasons of NHL experience, and it will get better as time goes on. Although the numbers are not overwhelmingly better, overall, the LA Kings defense corps was better in February than in January.