With the conclusion of the regular season under two weeks away, LA Kings Insider will take a look around the Western Conference to determine rooting interests and outcomes that best serve the Los Angeles Kings.
Dallas (21-17-3 / 9th place / 45 points / 7 games remaining)
Chicago (32-5-4 / 1st place / 68 points / 7 games remaining)
Alert level: Low/Medium. The surging Stars will have to run the gauntlet if their playoff aspirations are to extend deep into next week. They’ll return home to face Vancouver before setting off on a three-game trip through St. Louis, L.A. and San Jose that will go a long way into determining whether they’ll be at the American Airlines Center or at the Dallas National Golf Club in early May.
Root for: Chicago. From the perspective of a Kings fan, it’s better to face a Dallas team without the potential to carry an eight-game winning streak into Staples Center on Sunday.
Vancouver (23-12-6 / 3rd place / 52 points / 7 games remaining)
Nashville (15-20-8 / 13th place / 38 points / 5 games remaining)
Alert level: Minimal. Barring a major collapse or a major surge coupled with an Anaheim collapse, Vancouver has the third seed locked up. The Canucks are five points ahead of Minnesota with the same amount of games played and seven points behind the Ducks with a game in hand. With the safe assumption that the Pacific Division stays in Anaheim’s corner, even if Los Angeles was to finish the regular season with more points than Vancouver, the Canucks would have home ice advantage in a potential series due to their higher seeding.
Root for: Vancouver. A highly unlikely 4/5 Los Angeles – Vancouver matchup should be avoided. Though the Kings won that series a year ago and could match up well against the Canucks, there are better options for L.A. in the first round.
Columbus (19-16-7 / 10th place / 45 points / 6 games remaining)
Colorado (14-22-6 / 15th place / 34 points / 6 games remaining)
Alert level: Minimal/Low. The Blue Jackets have kept their playoff hopes alive by going 6-3-1 in their last 10 and will be visiting Staples Center on Thursday.
Root for: Columbus. Though there are other teams that probably have a better chance of defeating the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs, LAKI is in favor of the underdog Blue Jackets making the playoffs this season, even if SportsClubStats.com calculates their chances at 15.0%.
Minnesota (22-16-3 / 7th place / 47 points / 7 games remaining)
Calgary (16-21-4 / 14th place / 36 points / 7 games remaining)
Alert level: Low. Statistically speaking, there’s very little chance that the Wild are able to catch the Kings.
Root for: Calgary. Minnesota has the easiest schedule remaining out of all teams in the playoff hunt. They’ll face the Flames twice, the Oilers twice, and the Avalanche, Sharks and Kings once.
San Jose (21-13-7 / 5th place / 49 points / 7 games remaining)
Phoenix (18-16-7 / 11th place / 43 points / 7 games remaining)
Alert level: High. The Sharks are three points behind the Kings with a game in hand and will open the first game of a back-to-back set in Glendale before flying home to face the Kings on Tuesday. This is San Jose’s first visit to Jobing.com Arena this year.
Root for: Phoenix. The Sharks are 14-1-5 at home this year, and should L.A. and San Jose meet in the playoffs, it would best serve the Kings to have home ice advantage.