This is a really good article about how the Kings use the neutral zone. It tracks them each indivually and then as a team. It's amazing the when you read thru each players use of the zone and how they use it to gain entry into the offensive zone, it's very similar to their style. The author is Robert P of Jewels from the Crown, who also grades the Kings by lines and D pairings after each game and does a pretty good job, those are good reads as well.
Teams that win the neutral zone win more games because they get more time in the opponents' zone and manage to get more chances to score than their opponents.
Team : ...better teams usually carry or pass the puck in more often than not--but the Kings don't and they lead the league in possession. How? Their league leading possession numbers are largely being driven by their play in the neutral zone and their ability to create turnovers on the forecheck. They are overwhelming opponents not in the way they gain the zone, but just in the sheer quantity of times they do so.[/I]
Defense: They've allowed opponents to gain the zone with control of the puck 51% of the time but are only allowing 0.54 shots every time this happens. That is a very low number and credit for that has to go to the defense. In addition, the defense has allowed the opposition fewer attempts at the net than any other team in the NHL.
How much better have the Kings been in the last 7 games v s first 7:
●In close game situations, over the first 7 games of the season the Kings gained the zone by controlling the puck an incredibly low 39% of the time. Over the last 7 games, they have done so at a rate of 55%
Its' a really good article and you can get a sense after reading it that this team is very close to what we saw in the SC Playoffs. When you consider they are playing w/o Willie and Greene, and now Martinez, the numbers are very impressive.
The team should continue to gain control, improve and get stronger as the season progresses
They're in good shape.