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Kings Make Statement to NHL

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With all the troubles the Kings have had in penalty killing at home, no one would have said last season that they could shoot their way past their problems. The Kings have ratcheted up the offense scoring 19 goals in five games thanks in large part to a retooled No. 1 line.

In the offseason the Kings traded for Ryan Smyth from the Colorado Avalanche. Having dealt with injuries the last couple seasons, he is looking to have a bounce back season. So far he was scored four goals and four assists in five games. Along with Anze Kopitar (10 points) and Justin Williams (five points), this first line have been reeking havoc on opponents.

To illustrate this scoring onslaught, the Kings 6-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks on October 6 and 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild marking the first time since November 1997 that the Kings have scored six goals in consecutive games.

What could be scary of the NHL is the Kings starting to get better in their penalty killing. Starting out the season going 4-for-11 on penalty kills at home, the Kings have killed the last eight power plays on the road against the St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders. Smyth and Kopitar are being more active in blocking shots and sliding around to make goalie Jonathan Quick’s life a little easier.

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The one part of the game still of major concern is their faceoffs. They rank last in the league winning 118 of 287 faceoffs, only a 41.1 percentage. That has got to improve as they have tough games against the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets all on the road.

After five games the Kings are 4-1-0 their best start since the 1992-1993 season when they made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. And while they have four more games on this road trip against tough teams with a tough schedule (they play the Rangers and Red Wings on back-to-back nights), their statement to start off the season should make Kings fans very optimistic about the season.

For once in a long while the Kings look ready to break out of the wait-‘til-next-year mantra and make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.