Ask Darryl Sutter why his Los Angeles Kings are going to miss the playoffs less than one year after winning the Stanley Cup and he first points to the “disparity” in the home (24-9-7) and away (15-18-8) records.
On top of that, he concedes that all the hockey, regular season and playoffs combined, the Kings have played the last three years “probably” took a toll.
You may also recall earlier in the season when Sutter noted how it’s a “quite a bit different team on the back end” (without Slava Voynov and Willie Mitchell) and how “we need great goaltending,” something the Kings didn’t really get compared to previous seasons.
We’d add their shootout record (2-8) and their overtime record (1-7).
Oh, and a lack of finish. Sutter has talked about that, too.
And their special teams were pretty mediocre.
And losing Tanner Pearson hurt.
And they probably should’ve bought out Mike Richards.
Bottom line: a lot of things didn’t go the Kings’ way. Given all the good fortune they enjoyed during their two championship runs — from getting the Coyotes and Devils as their final two opponents in 2012, to all the overtime victories that could’ve ended differently in 2014 — perhaps they were simply due a dose of the opposite.
It’s always a contentious topic when it comes to hockey: luck. But like it or not, it can be the difference between a good team winning it all and a good team missing the playoffs.
That’s not to say that everything boils down to luck. It obviously doesn’t. The Kings got the job done in 2012 and 2014; they didn’t in 2015. And yes, Dean Lombardi has some work to do this offseason. His team has flaws.
That being said, let’s end this with a fun fact:
If the Kings beat the Sharks on Saturday, they’ll finish with the same record (40-27-15) as they did in 2011-12.
One team finished with a parade.
The other will finish with a meaningless game against San Jose.