After Kings coach Todd McLellan recently lamented the amount of work the Kings had to do in a very short period of time – less than a month until the end of the regular season – the Kings got an unexpected five-day layoff as their two games in Colorado were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns among the Avalanche roster.
While they would have preferred to play the games that they flew to Denver for, the break was welcome from an instructive standpoint as the Kings were able to focus on trying to turn around their defensive struggles and meandering power play.
“We’re trying to touch a lot of areas of the game. Our forecheck hasn’t been effective, that’s led to some long chances against. We’re trying to fix and repair some of that,” McLellan said.
The Kings focused on the defensive side of the game primarily but had one practice largely devoted to special teams. That included work with two power-play units that were much-improved in the first half of the season but have been lackluster as the campaign progressed.
Additionally, the Kings have faced solid penalty-killing units, as five of the top 12 PK teams by percentage are in the West Division. McLellan was asked if the team focused on breakouts and entries in practice or its proverbial half-court offense with the extra man.
“Both, because I think they all go together,” he said. “Entries, one unit seems to do a good job of entering, the other one struggles. In the zone, we’ve done some of the things we want to do positionally and structurally, but we’re slow.”

Defenseman Matt Roy skated with the Kings on Sunday and Monday and McLellan said a decision was imminent regarding his return. McLellan seemed to indicate that it would either come against the Ducks on Tuesday or Friday against Minnesota.
Roy last played April 2 before he was placed on the COVID protocol-related absence list, and the Kings went 2-5-0 in the games he missed.
“I was pretty sick for a good three days, but after that, it was just a bit of fatigue and slowly getting back to normal,” Roy said.
Roy has missed a dozen games this season and the Kings have gone 3-8-1 without him, only marginally better than the 3-9-0 record they have posted in their last 12 games.

Tuesday’s game will mark the first time since March of 2020 that Kings fans can see their squad in person, with enough tickets made available to the public to fill around 20 percent of Staples Center’s 18,000-plus hockey capacity.
That’s right, no more phony crowd noise being piped into the arena.
The Kings will be the last of the seven Southern California franchises that are in season presently to welcome back fans, with the Lakers, Clippers and Ducks having done so last week.
“We’ve been missing our fans a lot this year and obviously everybody’s been excited for them to come back,” forward Adrian Kempe said.

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau became the NHL’s all-time leader in games played Monday, surpassing Gordie Howe’s record of 1,767 games played set in 1980. Howe played more than 400 additional pro games in the World Hockey Association.
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Marleau set the record in Vegas against the Golden Knights with his wife and four sons on hand. Vegas coach Peter DeBoer, who first coached Marleau as a teenager and later as.a pro, said that despite all of his accomplishments and the multimillion-dollar contracts, Marleau never changed as a person.
McLellan, who coached Marleau for seven seasons in San Jose and knew him as a junior player in Saskatchewan, was in full agreement.
“I walked into the Staples Center with him the first night we played (on the road), and it was the same Patrick that walked into the building 1,700 other times,” McLellan said. “He was excited about playing that night and he loves to play the game.”