Sutter says Kings fighting for divisional berth, not wild-card - LA Kings Insider

Darryl Sutter liked the Kings’ performance overall in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Wild – they registered 59 five-on-five shot attempts at even strength to Minnesota’s 30 – though there were some aspects of the game that weren’t as even as others. He particularly liked Jeff Carter’s line.

“They were very effective,” he said. “I’ve said it lots, right? You need everybody every shift to make the playoffs. Kopi’s line was a little off last night. Basically, all it is is Koivu’s line – three big players – dominated the game.”

And while the Kings are still fighting to get into the playoffs, and while Minnesota has risen past the wild-card fray into a divisional playoff berth for the time being (and perhaps longer), Sutter crossed one particular landing point off the postseason itinerary.

“Everybody’s trying to make the playoffs,” he said while rejecting an allusion that the team would face another “desperate” team in the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. “We still have the opportunity to get home ice, as ‘desperate’ as we are. We still have the opportunity to go home in two weeks, so it’s one of the two. You’re not going to get a wild-card spot. The wild-card’s out of the picture.”

Statistically, the Kings have a greater probability of finishing in second place (18%), third place (43%), or as the first team out (23%) than finishing as the second wild-card, even if the Jets, who currently hold the second wild-card and own a two-point advantage over the Kings, have a more difficult schedule. The percentages, provided by SportsClubStats.com, say that L.A. opened Sunday with a 69.7% chance of making the playoffs.

Entering play on Sunday, third place Los Angeles is three points behind second place Vancouver with seven games remaining. Fourth place Calgary remained one point behind Los Angeles, with one of seven games remaining taking place Sunday afternoon in Nashville.

Little will get accomplished weighing potential scenarios well in advance of the final weekend of the season – or at least until the Kings finish their head-to-head battles with the Canucks and Flames. Los Angeles plays in Vancouver on April 6 and in Calgary on April 9.

“If you look at last night, we played the Minnesota Wild, and I said it earlier in the year, the Minnesota Wild are as good a team as there is in hockey. You know what? You’ve got to get into that division part of it. That’s the structure of the playoffs, and that’s where you’re at.”

The Kings, Flames, Canucks and Jets each have seven games remaining:

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (91 points)
3/30: at St. Louis
3/31: at Nashville
4/2: at Chicago
4/4: at Winnipeg
4/6: LOS ANGELES
4/9: ARIZONA
4/11: EDMONTON

WINNIPEG JETS (90 points)
3/29: CHICAGO
3/31: NEW YORK RANGERS
4/4: VANCOUVER
4/6: @ Minnesota
4/7: @ St. Louis
4/9: @ Colorado
4/11: CALGARY

LOS ANGELES KINGS (88 points)
3/30: at Chicago
4/2: EDMONTON
4/4: COLORADO
4/6: at Vancouver
4/7: at Edmonton
4/9: at Calgary
4/11: SAN JOSE

CALGARY FLAMES (87 points)
3/29: at Nashville
3/30: at Dallas
4/2: at St. Louis
4/4: at Edmonton
4/7: ARIZONA
4/9: LOS ANGELES
4/11: at Winnipeg

Darryl Sutter, on Alec Martinez and Mike Richards’ returns to the lineup:
I thought Marty was really good his first game back, and he wasn’t as good in the second game and he was better as it’s gone along here. Mike is still important. You need four lines. If we don’t have four lines, for example, if tomorrow’s the only game that you’ll ever play again, if you don’t have four lines, and that’s the last game we ever play, we’ll get beat. So you need four lines. Every good team has four lines, even the team we played last night. It’s really important.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

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

Bio

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

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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

Bio

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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