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2014-15 LA Kings Scoring Chances: Team

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Los Angeles dominated more than just puck possession in 2014-15. A closer look:

Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

See Part 2 of my Scoring Chances review, which breaks down individual players

Introduction

Good grief.

Not another autopsy on the Kings' 2014-15. Haven't we heard it all?

OT shootouts Jarret Stoll Dustin Brown scoring drought Andrej's got an MCL Richie's in the AHL

Yes, we have heard it all, even to the tune of "We Didn't Start the Fire."

That said, I'm finally done tracking LA's scoring chances from this fail year, and I think there are some fresh leads to follow. (Thanks to Nick who helped track a game.)

Of course, scoring chance definitions differand even when there's an agreed-upon definition, chances are ultimately subject to the eye of the beholder (for now). In this case, I subscribed to the "home plate" theoryessentially, any "home plate" shot plus the most dangerous misses in that area count as a scoring chance, while most misses and blocked shots do not:

To compare, I'm putting War on Ice's Scoring Chance and recently-released High-Danger Scoring Chance figures side by side with mine.

Please note that WOI's SC and HSC is markedly different than a "home plate" scoring chance. WOI considers a variety of shot attempts from the blueline in as a SC; learn about this more generous definition here. As for an HSC, you might consider it a more concentrated scoring chance, as it encompasses ALL shot attempts (including blocked) in the slot and low slot (see blue areas):

Even Strength

Scoring Chances For Scoring Chances Against Scoring Chances For % Games (+5 Scoring Chances Than Opponents) Games (-5 Scoring Chances Than Opponents)
2014-15 849 759 52.8% 20 15
Scoring Chances For (WOI) Scoring Chances Against (WOI) Scoring Chances For % (WOI)
2014-15 1764 1563 53.0%
High-Danger Scoring Chances For High-Danger Scoring Chances Against High-Danger Scoring Chances For %
2014-15 723 633 53.1%

And a breakdown by period...thanks to Chris_J for the push. You might be surprised with how LA throttled opponents in the third:

LAK OPP SCF%
1 279 255 52.25%
2 302 276 52.25%
3 256 206 55.41%
OT 12 22 35.29%

Make no mistake, playoffs or not, Los Angeles performed well.

However, just 17 games into the season, the defending champs looked ready to abdicate:

SCF SCA SCF% Games (+5 Scoring Chances Than Opponents) Games (-5 Scoring Chances Than Opponents)
Until 11/13/14 173 216 44.5% 2 7
SCF (WOI) SCA (WOI) SCF% (WOI)
Until 11/13/14 340 381 47.2%
HSCF HSCA HSCF%
Until 11/13/14 134 163 45.1%

Ugly showings at Philadelphia (PHI 24-13, 10/28/14), Detroit (DET 19-7, 10/31/14), and Anaheim (ANA 23-10, 11/12/14) were overshadowed by Jonathan Quick, who propped his team up to an 8-5-4 start. This, despite being pummeled night in, night outLA was outchanced by five or more seven times in 17 games.

The Kings began asserting their authority once again near Thanksgiving, as they carved Carolina up (LAK 24-4, 11/20/14).

But as Los Angeles was finding itself, Quick lost himself. Two words: Dan Cloutier. As in, our $58-million dollar man crapped out the most foul 15-game run of goaltending endured by Angelenos since Clouts:

"From 12/9 in Buffalo to [1/14/15] against New Jersey, the Kings' starter has paired, like 'Two Buck Chuck' with spoiled cheese, an .871 Sv% (.897 5v5 Sv%), along with a...3.02 GAA."

The Kings outchanced opponents at a resurgent 56.3 SCF% clip (169-131) in this stretch, but could only eke out a 6-6-5 record.

Regardless, just before mid-season, Los Angeles's SCF% inched past 50% and kept chugging ahead. This was highlighted by four consecutive (in the midst of their February eight-game winning streak) where they steamrolled Columbus, Calgary, Washington, and Tampa Bay with a 69.1 SCF% (67-30).

As we know, it wasn't enough. Much has been made of the end-of-the-season Western Canada waxing which sealed LA's doom. However, from a scoring chances' perspective, these three late-season routs were just as damning:

  • WPG 15-7, 3/1/15
  • NSH 11-4, 3/14/15
  • CHI 14-8, 3/30/15

But when all's said and done, the 2014-15 Kings may well be the best non-playoff team in recent memory. From mid-November on, they were a machine:

SCF SCA SCF% Games (+5 Scoring Chances Than Opponents) Games (-5 Scoring Chances Than Opponents)
From 11/15/14 676 543 55.5% 18 8
SCF (WOI) SCA (WOI) SCF% (WOI)
From 11/15/14 1424 1182 54.6%
HSCF HSCA HSCF%
From 11/15/14 589 470 55.6%

Outchancing opponents 55.5% is whistle about impressive. And remember being outchanced by five or more seven times in their first 17?Los Angeles saw themselves on the wrong side of scoring chance extremes only eight more times in their final 65.

Just for kicks, this is how they dominated by period:

From 11/15/14 LAK OPP SCF%
1 222 189 54.01%
2 247 202 55.01%
3 198 140 58.58%
OT 9 12 42.86%

How this team was reduced to looking for points in a haystack..?

Special Teams

Winter overcame those sitting on the throne, as Los Angeles surrendered as many shorthanded goals from December to February as they did the rest of the year:

Gms SH Goals Against Times Shorthanded PK %
12/9/14-2/12/15 28 23 77 70.1%
Other 2014-15 54 22 159 86.2%

Over a full season, that 70.1 PK % would've finished dead last in the league (Buffalo actually pulled up rear at 75.1) and the outside-of-winter 86.2 would've earned a silver (Minnesota was tops at 86.3).

Not surprisingly, more goals against rode along with more chances against:

SH SCA SH SCA60 SH TOI
12/9/14-2/12/15 53 27.8 114.5
Other 2014-15 114 24.4 280.9
SH SCA (WOI) SH SCA60 (WOI) SH TOI
12/9/14-2/12/15 96 50.3 114.5
Other 2014-15 191 40.8 280.9
SH HSCA SH HSCA60 SH TOI
12/9/14-2/12/15 47 24.6 114.5
Other 2014-15 87 18.6 280.9

Also of note? LA struggled just as much on special teams as they did at even strength in their first 17:

Gms PP SCF SH SCA Special Teams SCF%
10/8-11/13/14 17 33 52 38.8%
From 11/15/14 65 140 115 54.9%

Kids, take less penalties!

PP TOI/Gm SH TOI/Gm
10/8-11/13/14 5.1 6.2
From 11/15/14 4.8 4.5

Overall, Los Angeles was fairly average on special teams in 2014-15, finishing 11th in the NHL on the power play and 16th on the penalty kill. They appear to have outperformed their man advantage chances and underperformed while shorthanded:

PP SCF60 (WOI) NHL Rank SH SCA60 (WOI) NHL Rank
47.9 21 43.5 6
PP HSCF60 NHL Rank SH HSCA60 NHL Rank
18.2 22 20.3 12

We'll get into the reasons why in my article next week, which will focus on scoring chance rates for individual Kings forwards and defensemen.

Stats courtesy of Hockey AnalysisHockey ReferenceNHL.comPuckalytics, and War on Ice.