L.A. Kings Shots – Where The Rubber Meets The Ice…And The Net

Three of many gripes during Terry Murray’s era were:

1. Low percentage shots coupled with Terry Murray’s antiquated “shot mentality.”

2. Not enough low shots on goal to create rebounds.

3. Not enough one timers from passes on the cross seam, low-release and from behind the goal line.

The Kings have broken away from the one-dimensional, low to high (stretch the defense) point shot mentality that pervaded Murray’s system as the “default” to nearly every zone entry. Of course, it still has a place in the offense and it can result in scoring chances (and it does, as we have seen) but we don’t see it as the “go to” on damn near every shift. I noticed this path away from the offensive system shortly after Sutter was hired and I am proud to say the team has finally broken itself of this offense killing habit. It took time. It should have taken time. Old habits do die-hard after all.

In the past three weeks of games, I have noticed the L.A. Kings progressively get more low shots on net. Jeff Carter is an ace at this and this is one of several reasons his presence is solely missed, despite Surly’s claims otherwise. Low shots create rebounds and rebounds create second chances and, therefore, those dirty goals you need every game around the crease. We still, as a team, have a ways to go here but it’s not coincidence that we are taking more low shots and, as a result, scoring more.

Last night, Slava Voynov’s game winning goal was a pass from Kopitar, below the goal line, that Voynov fired on a one-time slap shot and buried. Dubnyk, by his reaction, never saw the shot’s release.

In the first period, Kopitar tried a similar pass to Dustin Brown from behind the net (after he drove down the left wing and wide), which Dustin Brown one-timed and damn near scored but hit the post. Colin Fraser tried a back hand version of this to Jordan Nolan that may have went in if the Oilers’ defenseman didn’t get his stick in the way at the last moment. Dubnyk was out of position.

In the final 20 seconds of the 2nd period, while the L.A. Kings had the powerplay, Kopitar dished the puck to Williams who sent it from just above the goal line to Brown who cut in the middle and one-timed the shot but Dubnyk made an amazing head’s up save. Dustin Brown’s “FUUUU!” that ensued (lip-reading, though I don’t think he ever finished the word) and anger at not burying that shot said it all.

Dwight King’s goal came from a 2 on 1 and Mike Richards’ beautiful (though delayed) cross ice pass and a one timer.

The Kings have tried more cross seam passes and one time attempts as well as low-release passing plays Since January 1 that I have seen them attempt at any point during Murray’s tenure. Still though, we need more of it. It’s the catalyst to an effective and consistent offense.

I don’t know and cannot predict whether we’ll stay the course and continue to create more offensive opportunities by these substantively creative outlets that are the bread and butter of better offensive teams, but I am encouraged. You should be too.

Go Kings!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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12 replies

  1. Although the save on Brown was point blank and a good save, by no means was it “amazing.” Watching on TV, there was a great reply of the play shown from the opposite end of the ice, above the goal. Brown had the entire left side of the goal to shoot at, and instead, put it right in Dubnyk’s stomach.

  2. Now all is we need to do is ditch that ridiculous ricochet shot shit, I cannot stand when Scuderi or Greene do it, it might be the stupidest trend in hockey.

    Any time you’re purposely missing the net, you’re making life a lot easier on the defense. I’ve seen way too many times the ricochet come to a very unthreatening spot on the ice, and picked up uncontested by the defense.

    • You mean like when the Oilers botched one last night and it bounced right to Richards who carried it down the ice and setup King? yeah, that worked are real good for them…

    • like it or not that isn’t going away. not tomorrow, not for years to come. the way teams play defense and fill lanes this has to be done. the alternative if they don’t is a bounce/ricochet off the shin pads of a defender out into the neutral zone and a foot race going the opposite direction. it is also a way of making what is essentially a ‘back door’ pass to the forwards.

      look at this way. when you play pool and you’re trying to sink a ball but it’s blocked by 2-3-4 or 5 other balls, you usually don’t hit the cue into the balls in front of your target. instead you bank the cue ball off a side rail and play the angles. same thing here when it comes to point shots off the back boards.

      playing the ricochet is a lower percentage chance many times, which is completely dependent on the boards at each rink. at the same time it is a better alternative to having a blocked shot go the other way, or having to reset due to being offsides.

  3. Off topic, but Quick is finally getting so action in the press in the Vezina debate.

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/46261-Boylen-Jonathan-Quick-for-the-Vezina-Trophy.html

  4. Good analysis of the old Kings vs. new Kings.

    However, I think we should also point that King and Nolan have been extra catalysts in presenting some skills missing in the offensive lineup. These two have positioned themselves strong out on the ice, battling in corners, mixing it up around the net, with some young speed and also endurance and stamina. I think these two came in with youthful exuberance that was contagious.

    Also, for a good part of the year I felt the Kings were a perimeter team just moving the puck around and around, back and forth, where often it was leading to nothing, no shots, or turn overs. They seem to be more willing now to find a shot from an open man, by getting a man open. The shots were also coming from farther out, with so much traffic and congestion around the net. Now, they are getting more quality shots, with some nice point blanks.

    I am also seeing more net crashing action, with some give and goes and more stick deflections into the goalie.

    All of this leads to more playing time in the offense zone, putting pressure on the defense. Teams playing the Kings now are seeing new things and they have to adjust more to the Kings than they used to do.

    If I had one piece of advice to the team, that would be for the shooters to add a fraction of a second and try to aim better for open spots in the net. Sometimes I see that they are shooting so excitedly and instantly that the puck has been hitting too much metal and into the goalie’s gut or glove. However, I know that is extremely difficult to pull off and easy to say, since the nature of the game is to try and hurry up and get shots off before there is something that will interfere with the shot.

    SJ got a taste of the new Kings a couple of weeks ago, and I hope they have not figured out how to adjust and compensate. Lets hope that the SJ mediocrity over the last couple of months to sink them is still paralyzing and frustrating them so that they are history this season.

  5. I thought Richard’s pass to King was awesome.

    Quick deserves the Vezina but they’ll give it to Tim Thomas for having such a fantastically dirty molestache.

    • With the NHL all dominated by the East Coast and Eastern Canada (where the majority of the writers and pundits exist), we never get the recognition for our players.

      Not only that, they don’t stay up to watch the West Coast games and don’t see enough of the games out on the West Coast to know what they are talking about.

  6. I think there is something to say about how a lot of thinking when it comes to scoring on these butterfly goalies is to shoot high. I know that Jim Fox mentions the holes in the butterfly goalie all the time and besides 5-hole, the holes are up top. I think this trickles down to the players and they sometimes feel the pressure to go for the goal instead of going for a rebound. Just a thought.

    • scoring 5-hole isnt that easy, when it comes down to time and outright luck to be honest. if the keeper is down and open 1) do you have time and the angle to pick the hole? many times no because you have a defender draped all over you (NHL to beer leagues). as a result it makes it tough to get the right angle to get it through his legs. 2) people typically think of the 5-hole looking at the goalie from the front. they forget he has 2-3 feet of legs behind the ‘5-hole’ he/she can still use to trap the puck and make a stop with. 3) a goalie that plays the butterfly properly will use his stick to cover the 5-hole. we’ve seen it all seen with Quick. the guy is a master of taking away the 5’er on guys with his stick. the shooter thinks they see an opening, but JQ will get his stick there. 4) goalies will intentionally bait guys to go 5-hole, if they know their reactions are faster than the shooter can shoot. i have been burned countless times by goalies doing this.

      corners and deflections. for me that is where the payoff is, especially the 4-hole (high stick side). guys just can’t physically cover the area as well, because their mobility is limited by holding a stick that is below waist level. the amount of motion is severely limited. rip shoots at the guy’s shoulder and ear and great results will happen. this is where often times you see goalies drop their stick, lunge, leap, jump and get out of position, etc because they will make awkward overcompensated movements to stop a shot that is going top shelf into the 4.

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