Is Pacific the best? Does home ice matter? - LA Kings Insider

As noted earlier, there’s still a very plausible scenario in which all five Pacific Division teams could make the playoffs, which has never happened in any division in the current format. San Jose is in, and the winner of tonight’s game between the Kings and Phoenix Coyotes will be in. Incidentally, Anaheim’s chances might get a boost as well. The Ducks play San Jose, which — having clinched the Pacific Division — will start backup goalie Antero Niittymaki tonight and will be without injured forward Ryane Clowe. Dallas finishes with three very winnable games. After today’s morning skate, I asked Terry Murray if he thought the Pacific Division was that much better than the other divisions this season, or whether it’s something of a statistical anomaly…

MURRAY: “It kind of goes around. I can remember, going back a few years ago when I was coaching in Florida, in the Southeast Division, and the only team that was going to get in was by virtue of winning the division. Then, you go through it a few years later and you’ve got Tampa Bay winning the Stanley Cup. It just goes around. This is the time for this division here, where teams are really good, playing hard, intense. We’ve put a lot of pressure on ourselves, in this division, to challenge each other, basically, to respond to the other team’s win. That’s the way it’s gone this year. It’s been very exciting. It comes down here to the last three games of the season, playing division games that are very meaningful.”

The winner of tonight’s Kings-Coyotes game will also move into fourth place in the Western Conference, but does home-ice advantage matter that much? Last season, of the eight first-round series, four were won by the lower-seeded team. Overall in last season’s playoffs, the higher-seeded team won 8 of 15 series. Still, Murray said he saw the advantage in having home-ice advantage in the first round…

MURRAY: “There probably is. I think so. Over the course of the history of the game, that seventh game of the series (at home), you get your matchups, you get your home fans, you’ve got some things that are going to come your way because of it, absolutely. Is it everything in a series? No, it’s not, but it’s nice to have. Whenever the opportunity is there to have that seventh game at home, you want to take advantage of it.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.