Don’t be scared by the title, I promise this won’t be a super in-depth piece. But I just thought it’d be interesting to take a look at some figures that have been key to the Los Angeles Kings’ success.
Penalty Kill: 92.6%.
That’s the Kings’ success rate when short a man. With just four goals against, they’ve ceded the fewest goals in the league and also scored twice while shorthanded. That number is definitely going to come down. Last year, the Boston Bruins had the best kill in the NHL at 85.7%. In fact, since 2013-14, no one has even come close to hitting the 90% mark.
Power Play: 18.9%
Los Angeles’ power play is exactly average. Or rather, it’s median. Sitting at 15th, the Kings have converted 10 times on 97 shots in 53 opportunities (per corsica.hockey and NHL.com). They’ve been slightly unlucky in regards to the man advantage as Corsica has their xGF at 12.48, so theoretically, they should’ve scored a couple more goals than they have so far. The Dallas Stars currently have the hottest power play in the league, rocking out at an astonishing 31.8% in 15 games. For what it’s worth, the Washington Capitals have the best aggregated power play since ‘13-14 at 23.1%.
Save Percentage: 92.92%
That’s actually only good enough for eighth and is only slightly higher than Jonathan Quick’s aggregate career save percentage and about 1.2 percentage points higher than Darcy Kuemper’s career numbers (including this year). Of all netminders from 2007-08 through this season who have played at least 10,000 minutes, Braden Holtby, unsurprisingly, has the best stats with a career save percentage of 93.18. Definitely expect that LA’s number will come down, but not by much.
Shooting Percentage: 8.99%
Between 2013 and 2017, the Capitals have sustained the highest (aggregate) shooting percentage at 5v5 at 8.29. This year, that honor belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs who are converting on about 11.32% of their chances. Los Angeles is hanging around just outside the top 10, converting just under 9% of their opportunities. Is it sustainable? Hard to tell, but goals against seem to be up around the league so I’m going to go with probably.
Six: The number of Kings players who haven’t scored a single goal yet. However, only three players (Nic Dowd, Andy Andreoff, and Brooks Laich) remain pointless.
36: The amount of points the “bottom six” have combined for so far this season. Last year, including Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik, who often spent time on the third line, all players combined for a grand total of 136 points. This year’s squad is on pace for about 180 points. (Also, I’m cheating on this one and using power play points since that seems about all Michael Cammalleri is good for).
And that concludes Fun. With. Numbers! The Kings are off to their best start in history and it’s only partly due to luck.
HIGHLIGHTS TO WATCH
Last night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks was absolutely bonkers. It had a little bit of everything, from timely hits to well, not so timely hits and goals and actually-that’s-not-a-goal-s. Relive the action here!
- Jon Rosen has a great take on last night’s game in his Waking Up with the Kings. As he notes, sure there were great individual performances, but it was all part of the larger game. [LA Kings Insider]
- Adrian Kempe and Oscar Fantenberg gave a Swedish newspaper some sound bytes. Kempe said this game was one of the best he’s ever played. [Expressen.Se]
- James O’Brien of Pro Hockey Talk breaks down last night’s wild game. [NHL on NBC]
- Felix Sicard shares his own thoughts on the madness in Anaheim if you have some time to kill to listen to the podcast. [Anaheim Calling]
- The Edmonton Oilers have a major hole on the right side. Who are the best candidates to fill that spot? [Oilers Nation]
- With the Four Nations Cup taking place on American soil, the United States Women’s Hockey Team is expected to do some serious damage as they get ready for Pyeongchang. Many of the players on both the US and Canadian National Teams have played for the NWHL and the CWHL. A merger seems ideal, but that would be no easy task. [Pension Plan Puppets]
In their first game of the tournament, USA stomped Finland 8-2. If you’re in the Tampa area this weekend, there’s still time to catch these amazing women before the Olympics start.
GAME TO WATCH
You don’t need an NHL account to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning square off against the San Jose Sharks. It’ll be a good preview for tomorrow night. Catch the game on NBCSN or follow along with the box score here.