Can’t let go just yet
They’re back in it, albeit barely.
It’s been a soul settling rebound from the horror shows seen in Columbus and Detroit last week with two crucial victories against the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. That’s led the Kings to their current 78-point total, where they stand tonight in the Western Conference‘s 11th seed.
The Kings’ 11th place marker makes the situation look a bit worse than it actually is, but it isn’t good. The 8th and final playoff berth is owned by the Colorado Avalanche, who stand at 81 points. There is a positive here, the Avalanche have played 73 games, the Kings just 70. That’s six possible points on the board for the Kings on Colorado, a huge boost to have this time in the season.
The two clubs that separate the Kings from playoff hopes also have 78 points to the name, and both are playing hockey as I scribe away at the typewriter. The San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames are the Kings’ hurdle, but optimism points at the Kings chalking up to even with San Jose in games-played after tonight, and being one game in-hand on Calgary. San Jose had four games on the Kings just a couple of weeks back, that’s a battle won in itself.
*Update: Flames add two points in victory over Phoenix Coyotes, now at 80 points.
There’s still some face-time to be had with the Sharks and Flames, the Kings slated to see Calgary for one more game, and scheduled to see the Sharks a whopping three times in their final 12 contests.
It’s without question Jeff Carter has had a major impact on the improvements in the Kings’ scoring, a team that has compiled 29 goals in the past nine games, the nine games in which Carter has been in LA. Carter has chipped in with seven points himself, notching give goals and two assists. He’s contributed quite nicely, and when he hasn’t been on the scoresheet, he’s been opening opportunity for others on the roster.
An eye-popping stat churned out by Rich Hammond of the LA Kings Insider here: Since the Carter trade, the Kings have scored on six of their previous 21 powerplays, a shocking sight to see after the way Jamie Kompon‘s offensive special teams operations have worked this year.
Compare powerplay success in the past nine games (28.6%), with that of the entire season’s (16.5%). There’s got to be a factor somewhere.
Speaking of power, save some energy with Matt Greene, damnit.
Anze Kopitar has two shorthanded goals in the last four games. Nothing short of hell yes.
Wilson could probably sit for free
The Kings are 2-0 with Tom Hanks in the building, get him on the bus.
Brown delivers against the Ducks
It’s a date with the Anaheim Ducks Friday night, a team in which the Kings have fared quite well against offensively, with 14 goals in five games, and overall – notching a 4-1 record against the cross-town Pacific Division rival. And of course, it’s another must-win game, as they all shall be tabbed from here on out.