Level of competition eases up over final 23 games - LA Kings Insider

How difficult has the Kings’ schedule been since January 1?

Los Angeles has played 18 games in the calendar year of 2014. They are 6-10-2 in those games. 13 games were against teams that would be in the playoffs if the postseason began today. Seven games were against teams currently leading their division. The “worst” teams that the Kings have faced in 2014? The Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets have 63 points, while the Phoenix Coyotes have 64. The Canucks, Blue Jackets and Coyotes are either tied for a final playoff spot or one point out.

Teams that the Kings have played in 2014 have combined to claim 1,324 out of a total of 2,106 points for a points percentage of .629.

The teams that the Kings will play over the final 23 games of the regular season have compiled a points percentage of .550.

Nine of the remaining 23 games will be against teams currently in a playoff spot, and only three games – two home games against Anaheim and one game at Pittsburgh – will be against teams currently leading their division. Los Angeles will face teams that are currently in playoff position only four times in their next 12 games.

This is not to say that the level of competition ultimately leads to a team’s success. Teams that are on hot streaks will beat other good teams, and slumps are slumps regardless of the competition. Keep in mind that in 2011-12, the Kings’ six-game March winning streak was engineered during perhaps the schedule’s toughest stretch of the season. Los Angeles beat Chicago, Detroit, Anaheim, Nashville, San Jose and St. Louis – five playoff-bound teams and a road rivalry game – between March 11 and 22 to leap into playoff positioning.

The points percentages above also do not take into account travel challenges or back-to-back games. After facing a very good Avalanche team tomorrow night, the Kings aren’t scheduled to arrive in Calgary until late Wednesday night (or, really, very early Thursday morning), which makes a game against the Flames much more difficult than their .440 points percentage would indicate. Other back-to-back sets include at Edmonton – at Calgary on March 9-10, at Philadelphia – at Washington on March 24-25, vs Phoenix – at San Jose on April 2-3 and at Calgary – at Edmonton on April 9-10.

Of the 23 remaining games, 11 will be played at Staples Center and 12 will be played on the road.

Los Angeles has not yet visited the province of Alberta this season. Three road games remain against Calgary and two against Edmonton. While the Kings play five Pacific Division teams five total times, they will face the Oilers only four times.

Again, slumps, hot streaks, injuries and travel burdens affect teams on a game-to-game basis. But when looking at the remainder of the schedule from purely a points percentage standpoint, the six and a half weeks that separate Wednesday’s game from the season finale against Anaheim on April 12 are against teams that on a whole have found less regular season success in 2013-14 than the teams Los Angeles faced in the six and a half weeks prior to the Olympic break.

Remaining 2013-14 schedule (home games bolded):

Wed Feb 26, 2014 Kings at Avalanche
Thu Feb 27, 2014 Kings at Flames
Sat Mar 1, 2014 Hurricanes at Kings
Mon Mar 3, 2014 Canadiens at Kings

Thu Mar 6, 2014 Kings at Jets
Sun Mar 9, 2014 Kings at Oilers
Mon Mar 10, 2014 Kings at Flames
Thu Mar 13, 2014 Maple Leafs at Kings
Sat Mar 15, 2014 Ducks at Kings
Mon Mar 17, 2014 Coyotes at Kings
Thu Mar 20, 2014 Capitals at Kings
Sat Mar 22, 2014 Panthers at Kings

Mon Mar 24, 2014 Kings at Flyers
Tue Mar 25, 2014 Kings at Capitals
Thu Mar 27, 2014 Kings at Penguins
Sat Mar 29, 2014 Jets at Kings
Mon Mar 31, 2014 Wild at Kings
Wed Apr 2, 2014 Coyotes at Kings

Thu Apr 3, 2014 Kings at Sharks
Sat Apr 5, 2014 Kings at Canucks
Wed Apr 9, 2014 Kings at Flames
Thu Apr 10, 2014 Kings at Oilers
Sat Apr 12, 2014 Ducks at Kings

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

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.

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.