Breakdown of a breakdown: Numbers from the Kings’ disastrous homestand

There’s one more game left in the Los Angeles Kings’ eight-game homestand, but even if they bludgeon the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, it’s still safe to say that it’s been a disastrous span of games for the playoff hopefuls.

Assuming they beat the Oilers – which isn’t a small assumption, based on the Kings’ recent play and the way Edmonton beat the San Jose Sharks last night – Los Angeles will only pull four out of a possible 16 points out of that trip. In those first seven games, the Kings are a pitiful 1-6-0.

Let’s take a stats-based look at their seven games of struggles in an attempt to identify trends in that set of games. If nothing else, this could prove entertaining fodder for people who dislike the Kings. (The heaviest populations, one would assume, reside in Anaheim, San Jose, Dallas, Phoenix … and Toronto because many Maple Leafs fans haven’t let the Gretzky high stick on Gilmour go.)

Note: there might be some “big picture” stats, too.

  • They’ve been outscored 18-27 in that seven game span, which actually isn’t that bad considering the fact that they lost six times (all in regulation) in that frame. They’re not getting blown out regularly, at least.
  • Then again, they hold a league-low in charity points with only one overtime/shootout loss, so it seems like they either win in regulation or overtime or don’t get a point at all.
  • The Kings have allowed a stunning 4.5 goals per game in that span while averaging 3 goals of their own.
  • Jonathan Quick is the only Kings goalie with a win in this span (1-4) while Jonathan Bernier went 0-2. Quick allowed 15 goals in five games while Bernier was even worse, allowing 12 in only two.
  • Ryan Smyth has been one of the team’s best players in the span, with five goals and three assists for eight points. Jack Johnson has also been strong, with one goal and six assists for seven points. Meanwhile, Anze Kopitar has five assists and Drew Doughty has four assists.

So, what’s next for the Kings? Here’s a look at their biggest remaining stretches of home and away games.

Biggest home stretches: A six-game stretch from February 24-March 5th and a five-game stretch from March 17-26th.

Biggest road stretches: 10 consecutive road games from February 1-19th and a four-game stretch from March 9-15th.

Overall, the Kings have 18 games at home and 21 games remaining on the road. Things certainly look rough for Los Angeles, but ultimately, it all comes down to the Kings surviving that crazy stretch in February. It should be interesting to watch.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.