A brief two-game trip through the Central Division that included a back-to-back situation against formidable opponents from Chicago and Dallas? No problem, apparently, for the L.A. Kings.
The Kings took out the Blackhawks 5-0 on Monday, prompting some stern comments from Chicago’s captain Jonathan Toews in the aftermath. The following night, the Kings thumped the Stars 5-2 after a strong opening period.
That’s a statement.
Two teams — Chicago and Dallas — that could definitely be considered Stanley Cup contenders at this point, and the Kings, leaders in the Pacific Division by four points over rival Anaheim, beat them by a combined score of 10-2 in this two-game road swing.
“We’re trying to make the playoffs. Easy. Show some desperation in your game,” said coach Darryl Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider. “Other than odd shifts or odd periods or nights we’ve struggled when we can’t score. Not much you can do about that one.”
Kris Versteeg opened the scoring 23 seconds into Tuesday’s game. Anze Kopitar danced around recently acquired Dallas defenseman Kris Russell and scored to restore the Kings’ two-goal lead late in the opening period.
The Kings, Stanley Cup champs in 2012 and 2014, didn’t make the playoffs last year.
But they’re on their way this year, once again a physical and fast puck possession juggernaut with the top even strength Corsi For percentage in the league. A Stanley Cup contender? Put them on the list — if you haven’t already.
This latest two-game sample reinforces just how difficult an opponent they could be later this spring.