The Los Angeles Kings have been moving in and out of a postseason position recently, but the defending Stanley Cup champions want to finish the campaign with more than a playoffs berth. They’re still hoping to dethrone the Vancouver Canucks, which hold the second seed in the Pacific Division and the first round home-ice advantage that comes with it.
Los Angeles has played in one less game than Vancouver, but it is also three points behind. The two squads are playing against each other tonight though (10:00 p.m. ET) and the result will go a long way towards determining the Kings’ fate.
“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 told LA Kings Insider. “I think without tonight, it’ll be very difficult. So we’re just focusing on Vancouver and going from there.”
Or as Los Angeles’ Jarret Stoll put it, “They’re sitting right where we want to be.”
It wasn’t that long ago that Los Angeles didn’t appear to have a realistic shot of passing Vancouver, but the Canucks’ losing two straight games while Los Angeles cleanly defeated Edmonton and Colorado has changed the dynamic of that fight.
At the same time, the Kings know that they could still end up missing the playoffs entirely. They currently hold the second Wild Card spot, but that’s just by virtue of the tiebreaker ROW as the Winnipeg Jets match Los Angeles in terms of points and games. Winnipeg will play against Minnesota tonight (8:00 p.m. ET), so this will be a big night in the Western Conference for a lot of different reasons.
After losing back-to-back games against Minnesota and Chicago, Los Angeles needed a win tonight against Edmonton. The Kings achieved that in 20 minutes. The remainder of the game was just for fun.
Los Angeles earned a 8-2 victory over Edmonton.
Every single Kings forward recorded at least a point with the lone exception of Nick Shore. Every Los Angeles player had a plus-one rating or better aside from Trevor Lewis, Dustin Brown, and Jarret Stoll. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Anton Lander were the only Oilers players to finish the contest with a plus/minus rating that wasn’t minus-one or lower.
Ben Scrivens got the start for Edmonton, turning aside 16 of 21 shots before being taken out of the contest. Already down 5-1 through 40 minutes, 23-year-old goaltender Tyler Bunz, who has played in just eight career AHL games, was asked to make his NHL debut against the defending Stanley Cup champions on a night where they were both hungry and clicking.
That went about as well as expected.
The idle Winnipeg Jets dropped their last two games and thanks to that the Kings’ victory tonight was enough for them to jump into the second Wild Card spot. Both squads have 90 points in 77 games, but Los Angeles has a comfortable lead in the tiebreaker ROW.
Winnipeg will have to wait until Saturday’s game against Vancouver for its chance to respond.
The Los Angeles Kings are back home at Staples Center. And unlike the road, that’s been a good place for them this season.
The defending champs, still very much in danger of missing the playoffs, enter tonight’s key contest versus the Oilers with a 22-9-7 home record. If they can make it 23-9-7, they’ll replace idle Winnipeg as the second wild-card team in the Western Conference standings.
“We’ve still got to take care of business at home,” coach Darryl Sutter said yesterday, per LA Kings Insider. “We’re going to be close to having – even already – one of the best home-ice records in the franchise’s history. In fact, we’re probably ahead of any year that I’ve been here, and there were years where they’ve had half this many. Take care of business at home first.”
Counting tonight, the Kings have three home games left, plus three on the road, where they’ve gone a disappointing 15-16-7. It’s estimated they’ll have to go around 3-2-1 in order to make the playoffs. And even that may not cut it.
Of note, Jarret Stoll will be back in the Kings’ lineup tonight after missing five games with an injury, while Mike Richards could be a healthy scratch in order to make room.
The Kings also play at home Saturday versus Colorado. After that, it’s road games in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, before finishing the regular season by hosting San Jose.
Related: Sekera is ‘out,’ with speculation injury is ‘not minor’
The Los Angeles Kings are scratching and clawing for a playoff spot, so maybe it only makes sense that they’re exploring every avenue to survive. Apparently that involves bringing back Mike Richards.
(The news was confirmed here.)
The Kings begin a five-game road trip against the New Jersey Devils on Monday, so they’re likely hoping for boost from a familiar face. Richards’ return was teased a little more than a week ago.
There’s some speculation that the recall was timed as much for cap reasons as it was for this challenging run:
Jarret Stoll’s injury is another big reason for the recall.
Richards, 30, has been an expensive AHL player for 16 games, collecting 14 points at that level with the Manchester Monarchs. He was a part of the Kings’ two Stanley Cup-winning squads, so chances are that he’ll be able to get back in the mix with limited trouble.
L.A. Kings’ forward Jarret Stoll will miss his second game on Monday due to an upper body injury.
Stoll was injured during the Kings’ 4-0 win in Vancouver on Thursday night and has not skated since.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Stoll is still being evaluated.
“We’re not going to have a recall here today, by any means,” said Assistant GM Rob Blake. “We don’t have a timetable on Stollie yet. He’s not playing [on Monday].”
Lisa Dillman reports Stoll was injured on a third period hit from Canucks’ forward Derek Dorsett.
Blake was asked if there’s any concern that Stoll’s injury could be long-term.
“Hopefully, not,” he said. “You saw the hit. . . . The problem with that is we don’t have a timetable for that stuff.”
With Stoll set to miss a second game, Andy Andreoff will get another opportunity tonight when the Kings play host to the Arizona Coyotes.
The 23-year-old won 5 of 6 face-offs and played 8:28 in the Kings’ 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
“It’s tough. It’s been a long year,” said Andreoff, who played in just his second game since Feb. 3 on Saturday. “But I’m kind of getting used to it. You just got to make sure you’re being the hardest worker in practice and being ready for the opportunity.”
The Kings have won two of three meetings with the Coyotes this season. Monday is fourth and final game between the two clubs this season.