3 Adjustments Los Angeles Kings Must Make to Continue Stanley Cup Playoff Run
The Kings are on to the second round of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and are beyond an incredibly physical and taxing series against the St. Louis Blues. While the team won the series, almost every game was a coin flip that could have gone either way. However, the team prevailed and we look forward now to the second round.
That being said, the Kings still face a number of tough opponents and can make a lot of adjustments to make their climb towards repeating as champions a bit simpler. You don't want to adjust a winning formula too much, but the Kings themselves will probably admit to needing to make these few adjustments.
Improve on the Road
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While the team won a decisive game on the road in Game 5, they still performed quite poorly in the first two games of the series in St. Louis. The poor road record of 8-12-4 and the lack of scoring on the road bled over into the postseason. The Kings were held to just two goals in the first two games of the series, and that isn't going to get it done.
Last year this team was an animal on the road, making home-ice advantage something of a myth with the teams it faced. This year tells a different tale, as the Kings had close to a minus-30 goal differential on the road.
It's nice that they have home-ice advantage now as they face the lower-seeded San Jose Sharks, but overall the Kings can make their lives worlds easier if they could win a couple on the road in convincing fashion.
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The Kings' power play was 2-for-15 in the St. Louis series, and the two goals had little to no impact on the outcome of games.
Granted, they were facing one of the best penalty-killing units in the league with St. Louis, who finished the regular season with the seventh-best penalty kill in the league.
Moving forward, they are looking at San Jose, which finished sixth in penalty killing, Chicago which finished third, or possibly Detroit, which finished 12th. So there will be absolutely no easy-going when it comes to special teams at this time of the year.
Regardless, the Kings need to be much more effective than 2-for-15.
Get Anze Kopitar Going
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It's pretty hard to have a multi-threat offense when your No. 1 center is playing well below expectations. Even though Anze Kopitar had a goal and three assists in the series, anyone who watched the first round will tell you that Kopitar was a ghost through most of it.
He registered just nine shots in the series, and in two of the six games he was held without a shot on goal while averaging around 22 minutes of ice time. Furthermore, Kopitar had an abysmal faceoff percentage in the first three games, winning less than 45 percent of his draws.
He picked it up further into the series, but the team is going to need much, much more out of its star center. If the Kings cannot get a consistent threat built up from the top two lines, then it will be a pretty easy time for opposing team defenses to handle them.