As we approach the start of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, Too Many Men On The Site will be taking a look at the teams that have qualified. Included will be stats, record, and why they will and will not win the Stanley Cup. Next up are the Los Angeles Kings.
Los Angeles Kings (3rd in Pacific Division, 6th in Western Conference)
- Anze Kopitar (81 GP, 27 G, 41 A, 68 PTS)
- Jeff Carter (71 GP, 27 G, 23 A, 50 PTS)
- Justin Williams (81 GP, 19 G, 23 A, 42 PTS)
Why The Kings Will Win The Stanley Cup
In large part, this roster isn’t a whole lot different from the Stanley Cup-winning roster from two seasons ago, followed by a Western Conference final appearance last season. It’s not like it’s an unseasoned roster when it comes to playoff experience, as 17 of the 24 players who won the Stanley Cup in 2012 are still with the Kings.
There’s a tendency to knock on the Kings for not producing a lot of offence with the weapons they have, and ranking 25th in goals scored certainly doesn’t help. However, the Kings went out and got Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline, and he’s fit in pretty well in Los Angeles, scoring 15 points in 18 games. Since acquiring Gaborik, the Kings have gone 11-6-1 to solidify their playoff spot, scoring 2.61 goals per game in that time, up from their season average of 2.41.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Quick has been on form since returning from the Sochi Olympics, posting an 11-4-1 record with three shutouts and a .927 save percentage. The emergence of Martin Jones as a backup has also allowed Quick to assume a somewhat lighter workload, having only played 48 games this season, though an injury earlier in the season certainly necessitated some of that.
The biggest thing the Kings may have going for them may be their streaky nature. Since early February, the Kings have had separate winning streaks of six and eight games, so they’re certainly capable of gaining steam quickly. However, they also endured a five-game losing streak in January, so it could also be a curse.
Of course, it helps to get hot at the right time. It happened in the spring of 2012, so there’s no reason to suggest it couldn’t happen here.
Why The Kings Won’t Win The Stanley Cup
Eventually, the load of games over the past three seasons has to wear on a team, right? Since the start of the 2011-12 season, the Kings will have played 250 combined regular season and playoff games once this regular season concludes, more than any other team in the NHL.
Yes, the 2012-13 season was shortened because of the lockout, but it was also a condensed season in terms of having fewer days off. Combine that with the Kings going deep into the playoffs for the second straight year, and you may have some tired legs.
Their first-round match-up may also be the toughest of the eight in terms of its competitive nature, as they will play their interstate rivals from San Jose, a rematch of last year’s second-round series, won by the Kings in seven hard-fought games. Though the Kings took the season series 3-1-1, the playoffs are an entirely different animal, especially with rookie Tomas Hertl back in San Jose’s lineup.
Of note, Kings captain Dustin Brown injured Hertl in a knee-on-knee collision back in December, so if Hertl can rediscover his early-season form, it could spell trouble.
Even if they get past the Sharks, the Kings would likely find themselves in a second-round series with the Anaheim Ducks, who are among the NHL’s most complete teams at both ends of the ice.
Of course, the Kings aren’t as concerned with playoff match-ups as they are about the health of star defenceman Drew Doughty, who hasn’t played since Apr. 3 with an upper-body injury. Of course, the Kings solidified third place in the Western Conference a little while ago, so it’s entirely possible they were just resting Doughty rather than risk further injury in meaningless games.
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