As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.
The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.
The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.
Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:
(He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)
While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.
They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.
The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:
Tuesday: at Devils
Thursday: at Hurricanes
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers
Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.
Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.