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Kings, Rangers proving importance of penalty killing

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 26: Kyle Clifford #13 and Alec Martinez #27 and Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate after the Kings 5-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the Western Conference Final during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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“I’ve seen a lot of (teams) who have had bad power plays do really well in the playoffs, but I’ve never seen any team play worth a damn if you can’t kill penalties.”

That was Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock back in March, and his words seem awfully pertinent today.


--- The New York Rangers, one win from the Stanley Cup Final, have killed 86.2 percent of their opposition’s power plays in these playoffs, including 16 0f 17 versus Montreal.

--- The Los Angeles Kings, also one win from the final, have killed 84.1 percent of their opposition’s power plays in these playoffs, including 11 of 13 versus Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks’ penalty killing has been a disaster versus L.A., surrendering five PP goals in their last three games, all losses.

“Our special teams all year have been the strength of our team,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after Game 4. “In the first two series, the penalty killing might have been the reason why we won either series.

“Right now, they’re going in against us. We got to shore up that area. Our power play, our production has been off a little bit. I think we got to make sure whether we’re scoring or not, we got to sustain and gather momentum when the power play’s out there.”

Kings coach Darryl Sutter concurred, calling special teams “clearly the difference in” Game 4, a 5-2 L.A. victory in which the victor went 2-for-3 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the kill.

Penalty killing of recent Cup champs

2013 Chicago: 90.8%
2012 Los Angeles: 92.1%
2011 Boston: 84.4%
2010 Chicago: 83.3%
2009 Pittsburgh: 83.3%
2008 Detroit: 85.7%