Waking up with the Kings: March 31 - LA Kings Insider

The elephant in the room is obviously the team’s postseason credential, so let’s start there. Unless the Los Angeles Kings were to win or lose four or five games on the road trip, the recently completed gauntlet wasn’t going to have a profound influence on whether they’d make or miss the playoffs. They finished 3-2-0, so this club’s final standing will still be determined by the last four games of the season – at Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, and versus San Jose – though that’s based on the assumption that they take care of business against Edmonton and Colorado at home. A successful playoff push that began as a slightly better than a coin flip’s chance upon the team’s arrival in Newark is now likely slightly worse than a coin flip’s chance. SportsClubStats.com gives the team a 51.7% chance of making the playoffs. In other words, they’re still within the margin of error of a coin flip. And while Darryl Sutter downplayed the idea of a wild-card entry, that’s at this point the most probable way to get in. Given their remaining schedules, the Kings (EDM, COL, @VAN, @EDM, @CGY, SJS) can certainly earn two more points than Winnipeg (NYR, VAN, @MIN, @STL, @COL, CGY) over the final six games and capture the second wild card spot.

468182028

Those games against Edmonton and Colorado, of course, aren’t assumed wins – nor is any game at any time of the season an assumed win – given the way the team performed over four of the final six periods of the road trip. Whether the Kings were weary after extensive travel, done in by other quality opponents, or affected by some other variable, Los Angeles’ play in the first period against Minnesota and throughout last night’s game was a sharp, virtually night-and-day divergence from their play against the New York-area teams. The Kings ceded a goal on the Blackhawks’ first scoring opportunity on Monday and weathered an assault that was curbed by Jonathan Quick, who was the barrier between a 4-1 loss and something more lopsided and crooked.

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks

When Darryl Sutter is looking to find improvement in his club, he often looks towards individual performances and ways to get more from certain players. Apart from Quick, was there any King who had a standout individual performance? If referencing the metrics, Nick Shore’s line had the most effective game out of any L.A. line, and Dustin Brown helped generate several key opportunities, even if he was unable to find the handle on one or two of them. Speaking of individuals, there wasn’t a great deal of positivity to convey from last night’s game. To be fair, the Blackhawks, despite recent challenges and a drop in the standings (that Chicago has responded quite well to), are still obviously among the Stanley Cup favorites and continue to give the Kings their best efforts at home. Don’t think Chicago won’t win their first round series, whether it’s against St. Louis, Nashville or [Team X]. Still, it was jarring to see such a difference between the performance in the games against the New York Rangers, who are battling for the President’s Trophy and lead the league with a +51 goal differential, the playoff-bound New York Islanders, and the Blackhawks. Last night’s game pitted the team with the most shots per game in the league against the team that allows the fewest shots per game in the league, and it was the Blackhawks, who entered the game averaging 33.9 shots, post 23 shots in the first 24 minutes en route to a 40-shot performance in a match-up of two dominant possession teams.

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks

I’ll share news on Andrej Sekera when I receive it (first on Twitter, then LAKI), though from the brief conversation I had yesterday with Dean Lombardi, there wasn’t any great deal of optimism expressed in the defenseman’s status. Sekera was walking a bit gingerly when leaving the team’s dressing room last night, though he wasn’t on crutches, and virtually all players are walking with an affected stride after 76 games of an NHL season. But more will be learned about Sekera in the coming 24 hours and whether he’ll be available for the crucial late-season games that lay ahead.

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

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

Bio

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.
VIEW JAKE MUZZIN POSTS

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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

Bio

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.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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

Bio

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.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

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

Bio

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.
VIEW TYLER TOFFOLI POSTS

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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

Bio

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.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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

Bio

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.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS