The Kings made the playoffs because they went 13-5-3 in their final 21 games (which just happened to coincide with the Jeff Carter trade). Who was the most valuable player during that stretch? The numbers might indicate Anze Kopitar, who had nine goals and 17 assists, or Dustin Brown, who had eight goals and 15 assists. A strong argument could be made for Willie Mitchell. Based on game-to-game consistency, though, it’s tough to top Justin Williams. Williams had 10 goals and nine assists in the final 21 games, and when Darryl Sutter occasionally frowns and talks about being dissatisfied with his top players, it’s a safe bet that Sutter is almost never talking about Williams. For the first time since 2006-07, Williams was able to play all 82 games, and he finished with 22 goals, the fourth time in his career that he has topped 20 goals.
SUTTER: “I think, deep down, he really wanted to get to that 20-goal thing. That’s still a benchmark for guys that are in the middle. It’s a good benchmark, too, when you look at the game. I remember, not so long ago, that the goal on your team was to have nine 20-goal scorers. Now, if you have one or two (at) 30 or a couple at 20, that’s pretty good.’’