The Noon Number: 53.7%
The Kings are the only team in the entire NHL to do something .What is that something? Well, obviously read on to find out.
Everyone knows the Kings are a great puck possession team. They've lead the league in just about every possession stat you can think of, in every situation you can think of, for most of the season. But one number stuck out at me last night after the Kings-Coyotes game, which is indeed today's noon number. Before we get to that, let's talk about why I noticed it in the first place: last night, the Kings did their best work Corsi-wise in a game during a time when they should have been score effected in the other direction. That is not a rare event at all, as anyone who follows my #fancystat tweets could attest to. The Kings finished up their game with the Coyotes with an advantage of 53.8% of 5v5 shot attempts (Corsi) and 55.9% of 5v5 unblocked attempts (Fenwick). Those numbers are good but honestly nothing special for the Kings (overall at 5v5 this season, they're controlling 56.7% of all shot attempts and 55.9% of unblocked attempts, leading the league in both categories).
However, what stands out about them is when you look at their 5v5 close numbers- in this case, that would represent all even-strength play until Drew Doughty's early 2nd period power play goal that put them up 2-0. The Kings only had 50% of all shot attempts as well as 50% of unblocked attempts up until that point. So that obviously means they played their best hockey after going up 2 goals, which again flies in the face of score effects. Again, not a rare event for the Kings, and that brings us back to today's noon number: 53.7%. That's the percentage of overall shot attempts the Kings have controlled at 5v5 while leading by 2+ goals. The Kings not only lead the entire NHL in that category too, but amazingly, they are the only team above fifty percent in that situation! The second place team, Chicago, controls 49.9% of 5v5 shot attempts when leading by two-plus. Yes, the Kings are almost four percentage points better than the next best team. Frankly, that's amazing. It's difficult to say what exactly drives that, but I will say that when watching them play with big leads in games, the Kings do not tend to take their foot off the gas, so to speak; they continue to forecheck hard and play with the puck, whereas a lot of teams will tend to sit back a bit. If the Kings can continue this trend into the postseason, it will go a long way towards avoiding another Sharks-in-LA-2011 disaster.
If the Kings do have something to improve upon a bit, it would be their numbers when leading by a single goal. They are one of the only teams who have a worse Corsi when up 1 than they do up 2+, as they are 2nd in the league in that situation at 51.4% (Chicago leads them at 51.5%). But that still ends up with a 52.4% mark for playing with leads of any kind, good for best in the league and again by a pretty strong margin (Chicago is second at 50.7%) and one of only a very select few teams who are above 50% (it's just LA, CHI, NJ at 50.2%, and BOS & SJ both at 50.1%).
So to wrap this up, the Kings are obviously a very skilled puck possession team, and they do a better job of bucking score effects than anyone else in the league. Obviously that's a very good thing and hopefully something they can keep up moving into the postseason.