The 2013 NHL regular season concludes as the Kings land in the 5 spot. In this installment we quickly breakdown the games against the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings & San Jose Sharks, present our Top 5 Reasons why playing the St. Louis Blues in Round 1 is awesome, introduce our KingsCast Playoff Beard tracker and preview the playoffs.
Saturday night’s regular season finale could be a case of déjà vu, it could be a precursor.
Pick your outlook at-will.
Even after three consecutive NHL postseason appearances and a Stanley Cup championship to their name, the Kings, in that span, have yet to start a playoff series at Staples Center.
The Kings haven’t had the numbers to earn home-ice advantage in a playoff series in 21 years, not since their 1992 Smythe Division Semifinals series against the Edmonton Oilers, when the Kings still played at Inglewood’s Great Western Forum.
According to the Kings’ opponent coming to Staples Center Saturday, it’s déjà vu for you. The Kings also finished off last year’s regular season slate against the San Jose Sharks, albeit in Northern California at the HP Pavilion.
According to the Kings’ current positioning in the NHL‘s Western Conference standings, Saturday’s regular season date with the Sharks is a precursor to a possible first-round playoff matchup against San Jose in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Beside the San Jose Sharks, there are two other possible opponents the Kings could see come the start of the playoffs being the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks.
Of the Kings’ three possible first-round playoff opponents, they have seen each one of them at least once in the postseason the previous three years.
There’s nothing wrong with some familiarity come the playoffs. The Kings are 6-5 against the Vancouver Canucks (WCQF 2010, WCQF 2012), they’re 4-0 against the St. Louis Blues (WCSF 2012), and 2-4 against the San Jose Sharks (WCQF 2011).
Those results are far from shabby.
The same can’t be said for the Kings’ recent two-game swing in the Midwest.
Hunt for Home
If either the Kings or Sharks want any hope of snagging the the final ‘home-ice’ slot (4th) in the Western Conference standings, the St. Louis Blues must lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation Saturday night at Scottrade Center.
If the Blues do in fact lose, the Kings matchup with the Sharks Saturday night has a simply, yet bold implication. They’ll be playing for home-ice advantage in the Western Conference Quarterfinals – flat out, no other fine print in the mix.
Home-ice advantage is something the Kings want, even after the outstanding 10-1 record they pulled off in opposing buildings last spring during the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
The Kings own the NHL‘s best record on home ice this season, playing ruthless hockey at Staples Center, posting an 18-4-1 record.
Kyle Clifford, who scored the lone goal in the Kings’ loss to the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena, knows the grounds of a playoff matchup with the San Jose Sharks all too well.
San Jose, can you see
The #13 Lean
Going Fourth, California North
Defensive when it’s Offensive: The Kings have had dates with the San Jose Sharks on three previous occasions this season, tallying up a 1-1-1 record. Each club has won when playing on home ice.
The Kings put on an offensive clinic March 16 at Staples Center, whaling on the Sharks with goals aplenty in a 5-2 victory that saw 12 Kings players record at least one point.
In both contests against the Sharks at HP Pavilion this season, March 14 and April 16, the Kings lost both times; Once in regulation, and once in extended time, falling in a shootout decider in the most recent date against the Sharks on April 16.
Defenseman Matt Greene hasn’t played against the San Jose Sharks this season, missing all three dates while recovering from back surgery, from an injury he suffered on January 19 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Greene returned to the Kings’ lineup last Thursday, but in unpolished form.
Matt Greene won’t play against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night either.
When you’re injured and out of the lineup for 42 consecutive contests, the return isn’t going to be glamorous – especially when the rest of the roster is preparing for the most high-tempo point of the season, that being the playoffs.
Right now is a very dangerous time to return to action after an injury as a hockey player. I don’t care what level. In fact, it doesn’t even matter the sport.
If you’re not in regular game form, then maintaining pace in a postseason rhythm becomes a huge threat to the recovery process.
What you’re balancing with Matt Greene is extreme. A proven, yet still fragile defensive staple for the playoffs, or letting the asset train fruitfully for the next six months.
Was Ellerby that bad?
No time for family
It’s the playoffs, fool.
Light Corps: Both Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick will be in the lineup for Saturday’s contest against the San Jose Sharks, but the Kings remain without Captain Dustin Brown, who received a two-game suspension from the NHL for his hit on Jason Pominville Tuesday night in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Darryl Sutter is expected to pencil in Jonathan Quick to start the regular season finale in the crease for the Kings. Quick, when shaky this season, has been so when the San Jose Sharks are the opponent. He’s started twice against San Jose this season, and those performances haven’t been worthy of space in the memory books.
Quick started the Kings’ first game against the Sharks this season, but was pulled from his duties by Darryl Sutter midway through the contest after surrendering three goals on San Jose’s first 12 shots.
Jonathan Bernier would come in for relief of Quick on March 14th, and start against the San Jose Sharks on April 16th – earning the win while stopping 20 of 22 Sharks shots in a 5-2 win at Staples Center.
Sutter would return to Jonathan Quick in the Kings’ last contest against the Sharks, and he was impressive to say the least. Jonathan Quick stopped 33 of San Jose’s shots, but surrendered a shootout tally to Raffi Torres, granting San Jose the win.
Anze Kopitar, who after suffering a broken ankle in March of 2011, was missed dearly in April of 2011 during the Kings’ playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, which saw the Kings swallow elimination in six games, losing three of their four bouts with the Sharks in overtime.
If there’s a solid time for Anze Kopitar to make his offensive presence known again, that time would most certainly be Saturday night.
Kopitar hasn’t scored since March 25th in Chicago, a 15-game span.
The Kings are without Dustin Brown again for Saturday’s meeting. You’d like to see Kopitar shoulder some success for this roster heading into the playoffs.
Don’t call it a Hail Mary
Due two his two-game suspension, Dustin Brown will miss the Kings’ regular season finale Saturday night. The Kings’ Captain will be back in action when it counts most, though, when the playoffs start next week.
If there’s one thing you can be sure about, it’s Brown’s return.
The Kings’ postseason status is up in the air on all counts, with home-ice scheduling and a first-round opponent still with tagged with multiple possibilities.
The beauty though, is the postseason certainty this organization has built in spectacular fashion.
You don’t need to act like you’ve been there before when you’ve been there before.
Time for another run.
See you Saturday
Be prepared for a dandy.
Puck drops in Downtown Los Angeles at Staples Center against the San Jose Sharks Saturday night at 7:30PM PST.
Episode 188 KingsCast TV: The March to the Playoffs – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
Drew Doughty‘s fifth season in a Kings uniform has been a respectably impressive, yet terribly underrated one. Most of the quiet criticism has centered on the 24 year-old’s low offensive output this year, which is, well, the way many faces came to know the youngblood.
If Doughty has built his NHL resume on one key or attention-grabbing tactic, it’s that of his knack to score at the position he plays, and in the casual, yet baffling way he does it. When it becomes a big enough threat to your game, the opposition is going to adapt. Either that, or you’re going to hit a bump in the road, a la a human being.
Statisticians have been busy with Drew Doughty‘s name the previous three regular season campaigns, where the Kings’ defenseman tallied 37 goals and 98 total assists. When you add serious dependability on the defensive end – which is his main job, well, you’ve got quite a player.
The buzz made sense.
Now you see him with four goals and 14 assists through 40 games this season. And those numbers mean as little as they are low – low, if we’re talking the expectations Drew Doughty’s built.
You may want to be reminded of Drew Doughty early last season after his lengthy contract dispute, which saw him sit out the Kings’ entire training camp and preseason schedule. There, you’re going to be fulfilled with highlights of a defenseman being out of his designated position at crucial times, due to an overdose of his offensive knack, ultimately hurting the team.
Probably not, though. Maybe you’re looking for an answer to right now.
Maybe it’s got something to do with Doughty maturing; taking on a more responsible, defensive approach. That doesn’t mean his future sees him as a stay-at-home defenseman. Please now.
Maybe it’s got something to do with the Kings having the best offensive scheme they’ve ever had in franchise history. Jarret Stoll isn’t our 3rd-leading scorer these days. The defense can play their game.
Maybe it’s got something to do with the Kings starting the season and playing it through so far without the two biggest stay-at-home defensively stalwart names on this roster: Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene.
Maybe the Kings are in 4th-place in the Western Conference with eight games left to play, with a comfortable gap in points, just about cuing a fourth-straight appearance to the NHL playoffs.
Maybe the Kings got throttled tonight by the Dallas Stars, falling by a horrid 5-1 score at the American Airlines Center via surrendering four-unanswered third period goals.
Maybe it’s just one game.
Maybe he’s just getting started
While one finishes
Cup and Out: It was basically already figured, but Willie Mitchell will be out for the remainder of the season, with no return to the Kings’ lineup expected, no matter how lengthy a postseason stretch could last.
I say it out of respect, and what I think many others – deep down, would like to see happen as well: Good career, Willie Mitchell. From a real life perspective, Mitchell should call it a done deal.
The guy can still play, and the Kings would love to have him back on the ice. His unfortunate health history is not worth the return. He’s suffered a myriad of concussions, and has been sidelined all season for a “different” injury.
To put it simply: Life itself, especially with a family involved, is not worth risking while playing the game of hockey. Especially so, when you’ve had an NHL career-run such as Willie Mitchell‘s.
Call it finishing on top.
And better yet, with plenty of life ahead.
Facetime, Replace time: Because really, the biggest concern regarding this roster at the beginning of the season was the defense. Major injuries to Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell at the beginning of the season seemed to weaken the Kings’ defensive corps terribly.
This is when depth and minor league development pays off. The Kings have the ninth-best Goals-Against-Average percentage in the NHL today, allowing a calculated 2.36 goals per game.
That, without the presence of the two biggest penalty-killers, shot-blockers, and lane cloggers on the Kings’ roster. For the Kings to find themselves where they are today without Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene playing regularly, is saying something extremely special.
It speaks to the second-year Vyacheslav Voynov, who plays like a 10-year veteran. It praises Jake Muzzin, who’s poise trumps that of all other Rookie defensemen in the NHL. It thanks Davis Drewiske for his last-minute time, and gives Robyn Regehr a chance to play alongside #8.
But you talk about a backbone
Colorado Down: The Kings are playing the NHL‘s lowest of lows Thursday night at Staples Center, slated to host the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado is in the midst of some dark days, holding the NHL‘s lowest point-total, with internal struggles tagging along for the ride.
Time to pounce.
On who other, than the team Drew Doughty netted his first-career NHL goal against.
Puck drops at Staples Center against the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30PM PST Thursday.
Episode 186 KingsCast TV: Robyn Regehr in, Davis Drewiske out – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
Activity in the Kings’ front office is in full-swing.
Friday’s move pulled by Dean Lombardi unclogs an overpopulation of players in the organization at the centerman position, and gives a much-needed solid body to this roster’s terribly beleaguered defense.
The Kings have acquired defensemanKeaton Ellerby from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fifth-round draft selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Ellerby, who stands at a height of 6’4″ and weighs in at 220 lbs, provides some much needed size and stay-at-home presence that was lost in the Kings’ defensive scheme earlier this season.
Injuries to Matt Greene (out indefinitely) and Willie Mitchell (cleared by doctors but still questionable on all accounts) have left some holes in the Kings’ back-end that are certainly hampering defensive strength. It boils down to the plays and contributions that may not stand out when being a spectator.
Both Greene and Mitchell were shot-block hounds, combining for 251 stunted opportunities off the sticks of opposing players last season. They were also both staples on the Kings’ penalty-killing unit. This team is missing big bodies in the defensive zone, those which can log grueling minutes and clog the defensive zone.
With Keaton Ellerby, the Kings have added a player that can help subdue the loss of the two injured big-bodies.
Andrew Campbell, who had been called-up from the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, will remain with the Kings’ affiliate with Ellerby’s addition.
What may be most impressive is how Dean Lombardi materialized this trade. Lombardi pulled the first trigger Wednesday, dealing the disgruntled Andrei Loktionov to the New Jersey Devils for a 5th-round pick in this upcoming summer’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Ellerby was then a healthy scratch in the Panthers’ contest against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night. This hints that Dean Lombardi already had the trade in the works – if not internally finalized. Ellerby had played in all of Florida’s prior nine contests this season.
So, in turn, Lombardi flipped the fifth-round draft pick he received for Andrei Loktionov, and used it to acquire a player that fills a role that the Kings are suddenly, and sorely weak at.
Now that’s a work of art from a General Manager. Let’s see if this roster can benefit from the move.
Keaton for a beatin’
Keaton Ellerby is expected to join the roster today for practice in Detroit, Michigan in preparation for the Kings’ date with the Detroit Red Wings Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
It’ll be a matinee affair in Hockeytown, so the puck will drop over eggs and coffee in Southern California, slating a 9:30AM start. We’ll have some pre-game notes here at KingsCast prior to tomorrow’s contest.
Episode 179 KingsCast TV: LA Kings are slumping – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
The shortened NHL season trudges on. Back in action with another riveting and contentious regular season installment is KingsCast. In this episode we breakdown the 1st road trip of the season, talk Vancouver & Nashville games, attempt to figure out what’s wrong with the LA Kings and of course, discuss Mike Richards. What would you do to steer this team in the right direction?
For the Kings, it’s a roster that has been hit with some unexpected misfortune in the health department. It’s also a roster that is being carried, as well as it can be, by the unexpected.
Scoring has come at an unsatisfactory rate through the first two contests of the campaign, with red-light inducers provided only by the three forwards that embody the Kings’ fourth-line, and two defensemen which rarely trigger reaction from scorekeepers.
Offensive output has been activated by Kyle Clifford (3pts), Jordan Nolan (2pts), Colin Fraser (1pt), Rob Scuderi (1pt), and of course Matt Greene (1pt), who will likely see his assist in the Kings’ opener be his final point of the season. Alec Martinez also has one point, but that’s not a shocker.
Those are the Kings’ leading scorers.
The depth ain’t done, however. Trevor Lewis, who has been rotating between third and fourth-line roles, leads the entire Kings roster in shots-on-goal through two games with eight.
It’s a bit ironic how three of the few powerful offensive bodies seen from the Kings’ roster through the first two games of the season spent some time during the NHL lockout playing in the ECHL. The skill-level between these two leagues is night and day.
Kind of like Tuesday’s performance compared to Saturday’s.
The effort, focus, and overall performance was much better at the Pepsi Center last night against the Colorado Avalanche. If you’re expecting perfection, or a miraculous carry-over from last spring, you’re in for an agonizing ride.
And it doesn’t have to be, because most of what is happening, said, or done today, will likely be irrelevant in about a week.
Lend an ear: It’s already renown that head coach Darryl Sutter was the most vital factor to the Kings’ success last season. The guy knows what’s going on, and he’s got a way of stubbornly expressing it to the media without openly disgracing them.
It’s open-fire. But he does it respectably. It’s like the reporters don’t know they asked a shit-stained question.
Don’t be offended by the truth, which Sutter spits. However, he regularly has a field-day with reporters with his simple, and extremely blunt responses. He brought up an extremely valid point following the Kings’ opening contest Saturday:
“Hopefully, our first and second lines give us some quality minutes instead of just playing them.” – Darryl Sutter via Frozen Royalty
You’ve got to love the subtle, yet oh so blatant messages that flow through Darryl Sutter‘s one-sentence responses.
Guess who showed up in Colorado? It wasn’t the aforementioned first and second lines, that’s for certain. All offensive assets showed improvement, but that was a given following Saturday’s debacle. Tough to get worse, eh?
It was Kyle Clifford and the utterly antagonizing fourth line that ran the show, completed by the likes of Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan. This trio was used aplenty in Saturday’s opener, and was clearly the best offensive group in the lineup.
The fourth-line returned to the spotlight again Tuesday in Colorado with Kyle Clifford‘s first period goal off of a Jordan Nolan shot. This shot, purposely placed by Nolan himself, granted a friendly carom that would direct access to Clifford’s stick.
Fourth comes forth
Cliff-Hanger: Kyle Clifford practiced with the second line Wednesday, skating alongside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. It’s yet to be confirmed whether or not Clifford steps into a top-six role for the Kings’ third game of the season Thursday night.
Imagine all of this with a full 82-game schedule. You know what a hurdle is?
Now it’s a scramble. You have to recover quickly. You have to.
Tuesday’s contest with the Colorado Avalanche presents a string of sudden roster moves to the Kings’ lineup. As though recovering from Saturday’s lackluster loss wasn’t a challenge in itself, the Kings must now adapt to a tornado-like whirlwind of roster moves.
These changes have come in all facets. With some of the good, you better expect a bit of the bad.
*New KingsCast TV – Episode 177 “Kings Raise The Banner”*
The Good: You’ll see a #11 sweater Tuesday evening. Anze Kopitar will be in the lineup against theColorado Avalanche, fully healed from the knee injury he suffered in Sweden playing with Mora IK.
The Bad: He’s traveling with the Kings has they embark on a three-game road trip over the course of five days, which hints at an imminent return for Willie Mitchell, who injured himself training just after theNHL lockout ended.
The Ugly: This is about as bad as it gets. Kings’ defenseman Matt Greenesuffered a herniated disc during Saturday’s contest against the Chicago Blackhawks. Initial reports claimed Greene was likely to miss the entire season, but most recent words hint at a three-month recovery process for the Kings’ stay-at-home defensive rock.
Bottom Line: Greene’s gone, and the only question is whether he can return late in the regular season, or playoffs, or.. next October.
Equally as missed as his shut-down defensive coverage will be, is his voice.
Blindside: The Kings returned defensively in a very attractive way this season, seeing all six defensemen – Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene, Vyacheslav Voynov, Rob Scuderi, Drew Doughty, and Alec Martinez return to the roster. The Kings controlled many games in the latter part of last season, and all throughout the postseason, with their arrogant defensive scheme.
One of the last problems you could foresee hitting the Kings this season is one that applies to defense. With Willie Mitchell still on injured-reserve, and Matt Greene‘s entire season now threatened, the Kings must adapt immediately.
Unfortunately, for now at least, this means Davis Drewiske will remain in the lineup. He will skate alongside Alec Martinez in Colorado tonight. And it also means digging into the product on the farm with the AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs for some assistance.
Manchester’s Muzzin: The Kings will call on Jake Muzzin, who was called-up from Manchester as soon as news broke of Matt Greene‘s injury. This will be Muzzin’s second NHL-stint, his second with the Kings. At the start of the 2010-2011 campaign, Muzzin played the first 11 games of the year in a Kings uniform.
He hasn’t seen any action with the big club since, until tonight. His performance, along that of Drewiske’s will not just once again determine the length of their time with the Kings, but if Dean Lombardi should trigger another trade to acquire a defensive body.
Only time will tell, and the way this season has been structured, “too late” can sneak up on you with the blink of an eye. For now, the Kings are going with what they’ve got within their system to fill the big holes exposed. And, they have the assets to make moves if tonight’s defensive tandem can’t hold their own.
Jake Muzzin will play alongside Vyacheslav Voynov tonight. The two are quite familiar with each other as teammates with the Manchester Monarchs.
The burning question – Who will Jarret Stoll ride to games with now?
Ambitions As A Rider
Strollsy and Co. are now hit with a dose of adversity to play through early, and it’s going to get late – fast.
But it’s nothing an Anze Kopitar goal can’t put a positive twist on. Welcome back.
Episode 177: L.A Kings Raise the Banner – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
If you’re going to start on a foot, do it on the right one. The slipper fits thus far.
And it’s a Kings victory, giving them a hand on the St. Louis Blues with a 1-0 series lead, while sniping home advantage from the second seed’s hands.
The Kings’ offense was provided by some unlikely names, with Vyacheslav Voynov opening LA scoring, and Matt Greene notching the game-winner on yet another Kings postseason shorthanded tally – their third in six games.
Dustin Penner deposited the victory, potting a bank-shot clearing attempt into St. Louis’ empty net with just 14.1 remaining.
Then there’s Jonathan Quick‘s stalwart stance in the crease, yet again. His play has been nothing short of unfathomable it’s been so stellar, peppered with a heavy barrage of shots to start the game – six within the first three minutes of play. The Blues would bury their eighth shot on Quick, but many teams – and goalies, would come out of that opening sequence down 3-0.
And then, this:
Initial this one. Two V’s = W
Dustin Penner will be momentarily remembered for his unique empty-net goal from last night’s victory. But, take another look at Vyacheslav Voynov‘s goal above. Penner’s pass might very well be the giver of the playoffs thus far. Phenomenal patience and placement, and that’s about as good as it gets.
Speaking of assists, soon after his goal, Voynov fed Jeff Carter one of the best set-ups you possibly can on a 2-2 rush. Carter needs to wake up, and fast. Botching that opportunity doesn’t mean ankle soreness, it means not being ready, your head isn’t there.
He made another sh*tty play later, but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe because it was so sh*tty.
Look, ankle injury or not, this guy was acquired to produce, and even if he’s not putting up numbers, there’s got to be some sort of presence from Carter. There’s not, and if it doesn’t start to happen sometime soon, I’m taking the screenshot below into literal matters when talking about and maliciously and wrongfully judging Jeff Carter.
Is this a coincidence? Ehhh…
Meanhwile, Voynov’s dropping dimes somewhere
- Game 2 Outlook -
Absolutely no time or room to settle, something you’re learning not to expect from this Kings roster, which has maintained a seriously humble attitude during their playoff success so far. I guess this is the real growth we’ve been waiting for. What they can’t do, is let the Blues flip the switch like they did in the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks.
After losing Game 1 to the Sharks, the Blues pulled off four consecutive convincing victories to nail their series in five games. They did so by outscoring the Sharks 12-5 in the final four contests. The Blues are almost a guarantee in home confines, losing only their eighth game in regulation at the Scottrade Center to the Kings Saturday night. They’ve played 45 games in their building this season. A Game 2 victory will be a monumental feat for the Kings.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, the biggest offensive factor between these two clubs is who can score two goals in a game. That was the case Saturday, Matt Greene‘s #2 tally tabbed as the game-winner. Dustin Penner, just for insurance reasons.
Quick but it ain’t easy
I don’t have much to say, there aren’t too many words that can justifiably describe Jonathan Quick‘s play. However, the Kings have maintained uncanny defensive presence to help his cause. We’re not seeing defense from just the defensemen, however.
It’s called offensive defense, it’s about attacking both blue lines. See: Dwight King.
The Kings are putting pressure on he Blues before they can hit the neutral zone, much like their strategy against Vancouver. The Kings are allowing very few options for opposition to create any momentum coming out of their own zone. And if they do break a lane or two, it’s rushed, and the Kings are well-positioned because that usually means three Blues players are still looking to find a way to support the puck.
Special teams will continue to be a major factor, especially in such a tight match-up that is the Kings and Blues. Although the Kings went 0-5 on the man-advantage Saturday, they nipped a combined eight shots to couple with some pretty decent puck posession. They made their statement on the penalty kill, which is better than a powerplay goal for more reasons than you may think.
The Kings are staying aggressive when shorthanded, that’s ‘keying in’ in it’s truest form. And it may be an antonym to the aforementioned “agressive”, but the Kings are playing relaxed hockey in special teams situations. That’s absolute gold this time of year.
Pat Riley never had dry hair
LAK-STL GAME 1 RECAP in Episode 156 HERE
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Round 2 of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs has arrived! The Los Angeles Kings showed their strength on the road (once again) defeating the St. Louis Blues 3-1. In this episode we talk about the game and give a quick comparison on why the Blues are similar to the Kings.
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.
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.
Tune into KingsCast’s Episode 147 HERE
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