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KING REPORT

Their Power Is in Full Flower

November 03, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Although most of the special-team scrutiny falls on the sagging King penalty-kill unit, the power play has quietly clicked most of the season.

The Kings have had 66 power-play opportunities, second-most in the NHL, and have converted 16.6% of them, tied for 13th out of 30 teams before Sunday's games.

If not for a two-game slide in which they went 0 for 13, the power-play numbers would be more impressive. Their two power-play goals in the first period Saturday were the spark in a 7-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

"If you score on the power play, you're going to win a lot of games," said left wing Luc Robitaille, who has scored all four of his goals this season on the power play. "In a game like [Saturday's], that's what happened and that's why we won."

The Kings' penalty-killing unit continues to languish at the bottom of the NHL with a 72.9% success rate.

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The mood wasn't very chipper Saturday in the Phoenix locker room, where the Coyotes had to answer for a leaky defense that allowed seven goals in 25 shots.

"Everybody will go home and look at this game and realize it's embarrassing right now to be on this team," Coyote captain Shane Doan said.

Goalies Zac Bierk and Sean Burke had a combined .720 save percentage, but Phoenix Coach Bob Francis blamed the defense in front of them.

"[Bierk] couldn't be faulted on any of the goals," Francis said. "One goes off of one of our skates. Their guys were teeing up on the power play right in the slot."

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