It’s a back to the NHL mentality across the hockey world tonight as many NHL teams and their rosters are reunited and get back into the swing of things in North America. Included in that group is Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov and Anze Kopitar who are all returning from representing their countries in Sochi.
All six players will be back in Kings sweaters tonight as the Kings face off against the Colorado Avalanche for the team’s first game since their two-week long break for the Olympics. Tonight marks the beginning of the final stretch of the season and with 23-games remaining before the playoffs it’s now or never for the Kings.
The Kings were struggling before the break going 1-4-0 on the previous five games and 2-8-0 in their last ten. Their recent slide has caused them to slide in the standings. They now sit in third place in the Pacific Division and are just four points ahead of the fourth place Phoenix Coyotes and five points ahead of the fifth place Vancouver Canucks.
Coming back from the break is something the entire NHL has to deal with and the rest versus rust scenario will play a role in every team’s dynamic for the first couple of games. The Kings have three games in the next four days and five in the next eight, this could be a prime opportunity for the Kings to snag a couple of points before the rest of the league starts firing on all cylinders again.
Outside of this week the Kings need to start winning, period. Another slump could cost the Kings a spot in the playoffs. The only way to turn this season around is to start winning and to win as much as possible. Sounds simple enough, right?
This seems like it shouldn’t be a problem with the roster that the Kings have. For the most part the roster is identical to the one that won the Stanley Cup a couple of seasons ago so the results desired could be accomplished with the guys that are currently in the locker room.
But with the trade deadline looming don’t be surprised if Dean Lombardi makes a move or two to shake things up and provide a catalyst to kick-start his team. This scenario will be imminent if the Kings to struggle.
All in all the NHL is back and we could be in for a bumpy ride if things don’t start going the Kings’ way.