The Los Angeles Kings may have won two of the last three Stanley Cup titles; however, based on how they’ve finished in the standings, the regular season hasn’t really been their thing.
Looking back at 2011-12, the year they won their first Cup in franchise history, they barely qualified for the playoffs, finishing 13th overall. The next season was slightly better (7th overall), before last season’s 10th overall finish, which preceded their second championship.
So far this season, the Kings are 12-7-5, good for 12th overall. If the playoffs started today, they’d be in them. Which is, as noted, all they’ve really needed out of the regular season — a spot in the final 16.
Still, even knowing how it’s gone in the past, defenseman Drew Doughty isn’t happy.
“Half of the games we’ve played well,” he said, per LA Kings Insider. “I think we got away with some games we won where maybe we shouldn’t have won. But I also think there are a few games we lost where we played well and didn’t win. I’d say about half we’ve played well and that’s a problem. We need to play well 90, 95-percent of the games. We’d like to 100, but that’s just basically impossible.”
He added, “We just need to be better, a better hockey team. We know the potential we have when we’re on our game. We haven’t lived up to that potential, hardly at all this season.”
If there’s one difference between this regular season and the past three, it can be found in the Kings’ puck-possession stats. The past three (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14), their five-on-five Corsi ranked among the NHL’s best, if not first overall. This season, it’s middle of the pack.
Unsatisfied as he may be right now, Doughty believes the Kings will get back to the type of hockey he knows they can play.
“We go through this way too often throughout our regular seasons,” he said. “We have little lapses where we don’t play well. As the season keeps going on, we start battling near the end to get into a playoff spot and we play amazing hockey.”
The Kings, with just one win in their last four, host the Bruins tonight.