The Kings dropped their 5th in a row last night to the Blues in a woeful 5-0 blowout. They now sit 9 points behind the Ducks in the Pacific race and 6th overall in the Western conference.
Naturally, when losing streaks occur fan bases can get restless. But, is it really time to press the panic button? Let's take a quick look at some of the underlying numbers over the last 5 games.
Last 5 Games
|Situation||Corsi%||EV SV%||EV SH%||PDO|
- In the Kings first 37 games they controlled the puck at even strength at a rate of 54.9%. Over their 5 game losing streak that rate jumped to 58.8%. One might point to the fact that the Kings were playing from behind so often during their losing streak that those numbers may be artificially inflated. Well, if we look at just the situations when the game was close, LA's numbers are even better at 60.8%.
- So what gives? Well, their percentages have been awful. Their save percentage over that span dipped to a dreadful .903. They also have only been able to convert 1.9% of their shots into goals at even strength. That combines for a PDO of just .922. The good news is over the short term, percentages are heavily driven by luck. In fact over a full season, luck accounts for 38% of a team's record.
- Also, before their 5 game losing streak and since Jonathan Quick went down, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones had combined for a unsustainably high .962 even strength save percentage. The league average is .923, so some serious regression was very likely in order.
Penalty Kill Woes
One area outside of percentages where the Kings have struggled over their 5 game streak has been on the penalty kill. Before their 5 game skid, LA had been giving up 49 shots against per 60 minutes of PK time. That mark would put them around 10th in the NHL. Over the last 5 games that rate has sky rocketed to 65.5 shots allowed per 60 minutes of PK time. That mark would put them around last in the NHL. This is one area of the Kings game that can't simply be explained away by percentages.
In fact, goaltenders have saved .837 percent of shots against on the PK. Before the skid they were making saves at a .877 clip, not a dramatic difference over a small sample.
So it appears that the Kings penalty kill is out of whack and one thing that certainly doesn't help is that LA is currently the most penalized team in the league.
In order for LA to play their way out of this slump, they'll need to continue pushing the needle forward at even strength but also limit the amount of penalties they take. This shouldn't be difficult considering that the Kings have the puck more often than every other team in the league. And when they do take a penalty, they'll need to figure out how to stop bleeding shots and get back to being one of the better penalty killing units in the NHL.