After going zero-for-six with the man advantage in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Phoenix, the Los Angeles Kings saw their power play percentage drop to 8.6 for the playoffs (6-for-70 all told.)
The powerless power play is the only glaring weakness for a team that’s 11-2 these playoffs and yet to lose a game on the road. Kings head coach Darryl Sutter, a virtual beacon of positivity, even went to far as to say there was some “poor shooting on our part,” during the six PPs.
So yeah, the Kings power play stinks.
But is it a big deal?
The question has to be asked after the Boston Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup in spite of a historically bad power play. At 11.4 percent, the Bruins had a remarkably low PP percentage for a Cup winner, going 10-for-88 in 25 games (including the infamous 0-for-21 performance in the first round against Montreal.)
Yet since the lockout, other teams have also had postseason success despite an anemic PP.
In 2008-09, Carolina made the Eastern Conference finals with a power play that operated at 10 percent — lowlighted by a 2-for-29 effort during a seven game victory over New Jersey in Round 1.
In 2005-06, Anaheim made the Western Conference finals by going 10.8 percent — though it eventually became the Ducks’ undoing. They went a combined 3-for-39 in the conference final against Edmonton, a series that was noteworthy because 1) Anaheim got 39 PP chances in a five game series, and 2) Anaheim went 1-for-8 in Game 4 and 1-for-11 in Game 5…yeah, 19 PP chances in the final two games of a conference final.
(But no, there’s no difference in how they’re calling the game now compared to back then. Nope, nothing to see here. The players have simply “adjusted.” Uh-huh.)
Anyway, back to the Kings. It remains to be seen if their woeful PP will hinder them — barring a meltdown of epic proportions, they’ll be representing the West in the Stanley Cup finals. That’s farther than most anemic power plays make it and, as Boston proved last year, things can change in a heartbeat.
The Bruins went 5-for-61 in the first three rounds combined. But against the Canucks, they went 5-for-27 — good enough 18.5 percent — and won the Stanley Cup in seven.