Before this NHL regular season started, I wrote that I liked that the Los Angeles Kings made a competitive leap and reached the playoffs. For most of the year, the Kings looked exactly like a promising team from the playoffs, even taking second place in the Pacific Division over a period of the schedule.
But since the beginning of March – or rather March 10 – the Kings have not been stably strong. In their last 19 games, they have gone 8-8-3, and have managed to win more than one game in a row only once – a “series” of winning two games over Calgary and Winnipeg in late March. As a result, their holdings in the playoffs have softened, and Los Angeles is now ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights by just three points for third place in the Pacific. In two places in the Western Wild Card Conference are now the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators of the Central Division, both of which are one point ahead of the Kings, and both have one game each in Los Angeles.
All of this means that the Kings may now be out of the playoffs by the end of the regular season. If “Vegas” overtakes them in the Pacific standings, and “Preds” and “Stars” beat them in the next two weeks, Los Angeles may miss the postseason for the fourth season in a row and for the fifth time in six years. It would have been a real disaster for Kings grandmaster Rob Blake and his team, but now it’s a real possibility.
What would make the Kings even worse if they missed the playoffs is that they ended the regular season very well and ruled their own destiny: in the last five games in Los Angeles, they played two games against the Anaheim Ducks. , and one game each against the Chicago Blackhawks, Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks, who are currently just four points behind Los Angeles with a game in hand at the Kings. At least the Kings must win four of those five games. Losing even one of them can be the difference between going out of season and skipping. Now there are no good excuses for them.
However, some may point to the loss of wounded veteran defender Drew Dowty for the rest of the year as the cause of his downfall. With due respect to Dauti, however, he is not the straw that stirs the drink for the Kings. It’s a team that is still moving from its glory to the Stanley Cup, and it needs young guys like striker Adrian Kempe and rookie D-Man Sean Dursey to step up and pave the way for a real fight for the Cup.
Certainly, the King’s aspirations to reach the playoffs could have some improvement from their goalkeepers. Veteran Jonathan Quick has had a rescue percentage of 0.909 or lower in five of his last six appearances, while tandem partner Cal Petersen has posted ..842 or lower in three of his last six appearances. It’s just not good enough, even in the relatively weak Pacific.
Also, Los Angeles special teams need to be much better and in a hurry. They have the sixth worst game in the league (16.2%) and their penalties in 11th place – 76.7%. They are also the only team currently in the playoffs that has a negative goal differential (minus 4). And they got the worst attack (averaging 2.83 goals per game) from any current playoff team.
We knew that this year the Kings would be unfinished business. We have seen progress. Now you need to look at the work. Otherwise it will be a particularly painful spring for hockey fans in Hollywood.
The Los Angeles Kings are slowing down at the wrong time
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