The Kings Need To Avoid The Wild Card

Mar 20, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) celebrates with right wing Marian Gaborik (12), right wing Justin Williams (14) and defenseman Alec Martinez (27) after scoring a goal in the first period of the game against the Washington Capitals at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few days ago we posted a quick breakdown of how the Kings have fared against the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks. It looks like the Kings will be paired up with one of their California rivals in the first round of this year’s playoff, so why not look at how the teams have stacked up of late.

But in order for any of those past stats and records to matter the Kings have to stay in the top three of the Pacific Division.

Right now, the Kings sit in third place in the division with 84 points and 12 games remaining. The way things are shaping up it looks as if it will be the Ducks (97 points, 12 games remaining) and Sharks (99 points, 11 games remaining) who will be battling it out for the number one and two seeds.

At the moment the two wild card spots belong to the Minnesota Wild at 83 points and the Phoenix Coyotes at 79 points. Now the Kings don’t have to worry about the Wild, they are the Central Division’s problem and the way the points are standing now, it looks as if they have one of the wild car spots locked in. But what the Kings do have to worry about is the Coyotes.

There is just a five point gap between the Kings and Coyotes, and any change in the standings would change the entire course of the playoffs for the Kings.

If the playoffs started today the Kings would be put up against the Ducks in the first round. I know you just squealed in excitement but let’s bring it back together here. The Kings, and the Ducks for that matter, would benefit from home cooked meals, their own beds and short travel for the duration of the first round. Even if the Sharks and Ducks flip-flop in the standings, an hour-long travel period up the coast is not a bad scenario to be in.

Now let’s say the Kings fall out of that third place seed and into a wild card spot. Currently Minnesota sits just one point behind the Kings in the standings so there is no guarantee that the Kings would have the number one spot in the wild card seeds. Going into the playoffs as the number two wild card would warrant a first round series against the Western Conference’s number one seed. Depending on how the rest of the season plays out that could be the St. Louis Blues, and a couple more hours of travel.

Which scenario would you want the Kings to have to deal with?

We won’t have to worry about any of these alternate scenarios coming into play as long as the Kings stay out of the wild card spots.