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Kings looking to crack Blackhawks' penalty kill

June 02, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Kings' Drew Doughty, left, carries the puck past the Blackhawks' Johnny Oduya, who is usually a second-unit defenseman on the penalty kill.
Kings' Drew Doughty, left, carries the puck past the Blackhawks'… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

CHICAGO — The Kings did not get much time on the power play against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. As the series continues with Game 2 on Sunday night, they will still be looking to unlock the NHL's best penalty kill.

The Blackhawks have been short-handed 43 times in the postseason and have surrendered only one goal. They have also scored one short-handed goal.

Their 98% efficiency ranks them No. 1 in the league, more than 10% better than the Kings, who rank fourth.

"There's not many chances that come," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "We have to capitalize on the ones that do."

Special teams played a significant role in the Kings' second-round victory over the San Jose Sharks. In this series, assistant coach John Stevens sees a Chicago mind-set that features speed and aggressiveness.

"They almost play like an F1 pressure wedge forecheck where they really try and challenge entries, don't allow easy entries into the offensive zone," Stevens said. "And once the puck is in the zone, they really get after it on the walls."

Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya offered a simpler explanation: "Just that overall feeling and the confidence going into PKs, it's good."

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