EL SEGUNDO, CA — When Terry Murray was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings on July 17, 2008, his highest priority was to teach his young team how to play defense, something that seemed like a foreign concept to the Kings in the seasons just prior to his arrival.
Two years later, Murray’s mostly young charges had improved their defensive zone play in dramatic fashion by emphasizing coverage of the “home plate” area in front of their own net. That new focus, along with improved goaltending, resulted in a dramatically reduced number of shots against, far fewer quality scoring chances by opponents and, as a result, a lot less pucks ending up in their net.
That focus was on point to start the 2010-11 season, one that saw the Kings jump out to a 12-3-0 start. But their defensive focus went by the wayside in mid-November, and the Kings have been in a deep slump ever since, losing five of their last six games while allowing one glorious scoring chance after another and giving up goals in bunches. Read more of this post