WCF: Phoenix Coyotes vs. Los Angeles Kings Series Preview: The Special Teams

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Shane Doan #19 of the Phoenix Coyotes looks to make a play in front of Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on January 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings won 1-0 in overtime. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The 2012 Western Conference Final pits two teams who know each other extremely well against one another. The teams play one another six times a year. During the regular season each team won three games. The Coyotes scored twice as many power play goals as the Kings (4 to 2) during the regular season, but those numbers don't tell the whole story. 3 of the 4 Coyotes' goals, and one of the King's tallies were scored in the crazy 5-4 game the teams played on February 22nd. Let's look at how the units match up against one another.

Coyotes Power Play vs. Kings Penalty Kill

Phoenix's power play numbers in the postseason (16.1%) so far have been an improvement over their horrific regular season numbers (13.6%). However, most of the power play damage they inflicted was against the Blackhawks atrocious penalty kill. Against the Predators the only power play goal the Coyotes scored was the first goal in the series.The Kings had the 4th best penalty kill in the league during the regular season (87%) and have the best one so far in the postseason (92.1%). The Coyotes are likely to struggle to score in this series. However, that shouldn't be the only concern when the Desert Dogs are on the PP. The Kings have scored four short handed goals in the postseason including two by Dustin Brown.

Kings Power Play vs. Coyotes Penalty Kill

Like LA, Phoenix wasn't too shabby on the penalty in the regular season either, finishing with the eighth best record (85.5%). And just like the Kings, The Coyotes PK numbers have gotten better in the postseason (89.5%). On the flip side, the Kings power play during the regular season was ranked 17th in the NHL (17%). In the playoffs, their power play has hit at half the rate (8.5%) it did during the season. Given how things have gone so far in their head to head match ups and in the playoffs the Coyotes should be able to limit the guys from SoCal on the power play.

Looking Ahead

Based on the numbers one would suspect fans won't be seeing a bunch of red lights in man advantage situations in this series.Then again, based on the numbers most people wouldn't have either squad playing for the Western Conference title.

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