Frozen Royalty: Kings Make The Playoffs: But Are They Hungry For More?
LOS ANGELES — Here in the Los Angeles area, if you listened carefully, one could probably hear sporadic cheers, glasses clinking, maybe even a few car horns honking in celebration…and, oh yeah…even the Earth moved.
Indeed, Los Angeles area hockey fans had great reason to celebrate on April 4 because with the Chicago Blackhawks handing the Calgary Flames a 4-1 defeat, the Los Angeles Kings secured a playoff berth for the first time since 2002 and just their fifth playoff appearance since 1993, when the Wayne Gretzky-led Kings went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Qualifying for post-season play was the goal for the mostly young Kings going into this season and, especially for some, it has been a long, long time coming.
“It’s a long time coming for me and a few other guys who have been here for awhile,” said right wing and team captain Dustin Brown. “We’ve grown a lot.”
“This is the most fun I’ve had since I’ve been in the league,” added Brown. “Just the prospect of playing in the playoffs and having these last ten games [of the regular season] mean something is always a lot of fun.”
But the big question facing the Kings now is if they are just going to be happy to have made the playoffs and be satisfied with that, or are they going to go into the post-season determined and ready to be a formidable opponent?
To be sure, the Kings’ highly inconsistent play since the Olympic break only raises serious doubts, and as their 7-7-3 record since the break indicates, intensity, urgency and effort have all been cited as deficiencies too many times in the last six weeks.
After two solid wins, at Nashville on April 1 and against Vancouver on April 3 at Staples Center, it appeared that the Kings had figured things out and turned their game around.
“We talked about bringing home the attitude we showed in Nashville,” head coach Terry Murray said after his team’s win over Vancouver. “We had a good game there. We started that game with energy and puck movement that was as good as any other game this year, and it’s time we did that at home. It’s what we needed.”
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