Teams often talk about the need to play the full 60 minutes. If the Kings miss the playoffs though, it won’t be because of something they lacked in the first 60 minutes of contests. As has too often been the case in 2014-15, Los Angeles missed out on the second point in a 2-1 shootout loss to Vancouver.
Goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Eddie Lack were the two best players on the ice tonight with 37 and 36 saves in regulation respectively. However, this game might be most memorable for Canucks forward Henrik Sedin, who became the 52nd player to ever reach the 700-assist mark.
That ended the narrow lead Los Angeles had maintained since 1:13 of the first period. Vancouver’s Chris Higgins was the only player on either side to score in three shootout rounds.
Los Angeles entered this game with aspirations of narrowing the gap on Vancouver in the hopes of eventually wrestling the second seed in the Pacific Division away from the Canucks. That might still happen, but Los Angeles will now need some outside help. On top of that, Winnipeg won tonight so if the playoffs started tomorrow, Los Angeles wouldn’t be participating in them at all.
That’s largely due to the Kings’ inability to convert in overtime or shootouts as they have dropped to a combined 3-15 in those scenarios. That’s the worst record in the league by a decent margin and significantly behind Winnipeg (11-12), Calgary (13-7), and Vancouver (11-5). So if the defending Stanley Cup champions end up falling short of the playoffs, that will be an easy thing to point to as the cause.
That being said, Los Angeles still has a game against Calgary on Thursday, so the Kings’ fate is still in their hands.