The Los Angeles Kings are back. No, not back to playing the quality hockey that they eagerly baited fans with to begin the year. Indeed they’re back to playing the same kind of sloppy, ineffective, and ultimately lead-losing hockey that has been the bane of hockey fans in Southern California for years. After a red-hot start, the Kings lept to 1st in the league, and were looking like this might be the year that everything turns around. That’s still possible.
But the Kings have lost four of the last five games, and not in a particularly pretty fashion. They haven’t fallen too far in the standings. Yet. Standing at the top of the Pacific Division and 2nd in the Western Conference doesn’t seem like a bad place to be, and it’s not. The Kings are currently positioned quite well, the problem comes if they can’t snap out of this bad streak of games and get back into a winning habit. In 2nd place in the Western Conference, the Kings have 26 points in 20 games. 13th place Nashville had 21 games, a mere 5 points behind, with a game in hand! That means the Kings could fall hard, and fall quickly, even with their strong start.
Frankly I think the Kings start is closer to the way they really have the ability to play. They need to maintain the consistency, and they really need to start getting some more play out of their top line. Dustin Brown has been all but absent, and Jack Johnson had one of the most horrible games I’ve seen out of him just last night. The Kings have gotten good play out of their second line pretty much all season, and that will need to continue if they want to return to their winning ways. Perhaps the only thing that can realistically be considered an unqualified success this season has been Jonathan Quick. That guy is playing like a man out of his mind so far this season. Bernier has been stuck with some rough games, but generally has played like a competent backup, but Quick has been overall great.
What do you think? Any bright spots in the last few games for you? Or all dark clouds ahead?