Their penalty-killing woes didn’t just start Saturday night. It had been building for the Kings as they have given up at least one power-play goal in each of the last six games.
Los Angeles Times columnist Helene Elliott asked Sutter about the continuing penalty-killing problems. Sutter was unsparing in his bluntness during his post-game presser.
“Looking at the two goals, Willie Mitchell is supposed to be a good penalty-killer and he lets [David] Legwand walk off the wall and shoot it,” Sutter said.
“[Matt] Greene and Willie are supposed to be good penalty-killers and they’re both not doing anything, so obviously we’ve got to look at the people we’re using on our penalty kill.”
Sutter praised the efforts of winger Tyler Toffoli, who played his first game of the season with the Kings after having been in Manchester, N.H., of the American Hockey League. Toffoli stood out with his energy, was active throughout with five shots on goal and assisted on the Kings’ third goal, scored by Mike Richards.
“He came out. He made plays,” Anze Kopitar said of Toffoli. “Definitely felt his presence out there. That’s what we need.”
Not so long ago, the Kings were ranked as high as No. 3 in the league in the penalty-killing department. That was just before a loss to the Calgary Flames on Oct. 21. By Sunday, they had dropped to 24th. The Ducks are 29th and the Blackhawks are 30th.
“Our PK has been struggling,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “And we just need to clear the slate on it. We’re capable of being a high-percentage PK. We’ve shown that.”
The last word goes to Sutter about the penalty-killing details.
“We kill similar to a lot of teams,” he said. “But when there’s one guy breaking down on it, it tends to, you know. … We need some goaltending, too.”