Darryl Sutter broached the subject last week when he declared that the Kings were fighting for a divisional playoff berth, not the second wild-card. Let’s double down on the thought: could the Kings come away with home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs?
“I think for this group, we’re looking at it as we have a chance for home-ice and we need to get it,” Dustin Brown said. “I think without tonight, it’ll be very difficult. So we’re just focusing on Vancouver and going from there.”
Putting the blinders on anything beyond tonight would appear to be the right approach; the oft cited SportsClubStats.com gives Los Angeles a 12% chance at capturing the second divisional seed and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which begin next week. With 92 points, the Kings are three points behind the second-place Canucks and one point behind the third-place Flames with a game in hand on both.
Of course, the Los Angeles is also tied with Winnipeg for the final wild-card spot but holds the tiebreaker. SportsClubStats.com also puts a slightly better than one-in-four chance that the Kings miss the playoffs entirely.
To sum it up pithily, there’s obviously an important game tonight at Rogers Arena.
“Yeah, I think everyone is pretty aware of how important it is for our team and for their team,” Drew Doughty said. “We win this game, I think we are only a point back of them, assuming we win in regulation. We want to get that second place in the division. Right now they have it, so we’re going to have to win this game.”
#Canucks Kings centre Jarret Stoll on the standings and Vancouver: "They're sitting right where we want to be."
— Steve Ewen (@SteveEwen) April 6, 2015
Drew Doughty, on whether the team is vying for home ice advantage, and not just to make the playoffs:
Yeah, of course. You want to get home ice if you can and we’re not many points out. It’s very much in reaching distance, we just have to win all our games and start with this one.
Doughty, on whether it’s fun to be in a tight playoff race:
Yeah, of course it’s fun. I don’t think anyone feels any added pressure. These are the games you come into the season wanting to play, waiting for. You obviously wait for playoffs, but this is playoffs for us. These games are fun and the atmosphere from the crowd and the atmosphere on the ice with both teams just battling is going to be a lot of fun.
Doughty, on what he thinks the battles will be like in the final week of the season:
They’re going to be pretty good. The Western Conference is tight. I’m pretty sure, I don’t know much about the Eastern Conference, but I’m pretty sure they’re pretty tight, too. I think for hockey fans, I think this next week is going to be a lot of fun to watch. I think all the games are going to be quite entertaining.