These Aren’t Your Same Los Angeles Kings


Mar 18, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; The Anaheim Ducks celebrate a goal by Anaheim Ducks left wing Patrick Maroon (19) during the third period against the Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center. The Anaheim Ducks won in overtime 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

This was the scene at the Honda Center, as Ryan Kesler danced around the Los Angeles Kings defense, to propel the Anaheim Ducks in OT. The Kings lost their season series to the Ducks for the second season in a row, falling to 1-1-3 against their Pacific Division foes. The season series is indicative of a tight battle, seeing four of five games decided in OT or a shootout. Bruce Boudreau said it before the game, he doesn’t want the L.A. Kings to make the playoffs and understandably so.

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We know how Boudreau feels. The real question here is, will the L.A. Kings make the playoffs?

On paper you look at this team and you would think there’s no way this team wouldn’t make the playoffs. You’ve got the likes of Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick to name a few. All are players who have championship pedigree and know what it takes to get in the big dance.

The big difference between this team to the last? Slava Voynov.

Slava Voynov’s absence has been looming over the team and L.A. has failed to properly replace him. I absolutely loved the trade for Andrej Sekera, but he’s not the same dynamic player Voynov is. To be fair, Sekera is coming into his own and is slowly but surely meshing with the team. Voynov is what I call a “Mini-Doughty,” a guy who can give you about twenty minutes of ice time per game, and take pressure off some of the bottom pairing defensemen. His absence has led to Drew Doughty leading the league in ice time and playing nearly 30 MINUTES A GAME(29:21 min/game). I’m not worried about Drew Doughty’s stamina but jeez, it goes to show you Darryl Sutter’s lack of trust on the back-end. I wouldn’t say L.A.’s defense is troubling, but it is a long way’s away from the defensive corps they had in 2014.

Willie Mitchell added versatility and toughness. Voynov added a deadly option from the point and is one of the best puck moving defensemen on the team. Subtract these two and add Brayden McNabb and Andrej Sekera. McNabb, a physical defensemen with a great shot, has had his up’s and down’s with the team, which is normal for a 24-year-old rookie. McNabb looks like he will be a highly productive d-man in the future, but the future is not 2015.

I know what most of you are thinking, “They’ve struggled to make the playoffs in 2014 and 2012, they just need to get in.” I’m not going to disagree with you or call you an idiot, this team is still very dangerous IF they get in. But to say that this is the same team from 2014? Completely false.

The Kings have registered just four goals in the past three games.  Jonathan Quick has played stellar in those games, but this isn’t exactly a recipe for success. Granted, the Yotes, Preds, and Ducks are all defensive minded teams. The Kings need more. Without “That 70’s Line 2.0,” the Kings scoring has been very bleak. The first line of Gaborik, Kopitar, Brown/Lewis has failed to make a consistent impact. If the Kings are going to make the playoffs, they need much more than just Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. Hopefully Alec Martinez and Tanner Pearson can return soon and give this team added ammunition.

Let’s take a look at the Kings schedule compared to the other wildcard teams.

Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings /

Los Angeles Kings

L.A. Kings, 82 Points, 3rd in Pacific (12 Games Remaining)

Home (4): VAN, EDM, COL, SJ


Opponents in Playoffs: 6

VAN Canucks, 84 Points, 2nd in Pacific (13 Games Remaining)

Home (7): CBJ, WPG, COL, DAL, LA, ARI, EDM

Away (6): LA, ARI, STL, NSH, CHI, WPG

Opponents in Playoffs: 7

MIN Wild, 85 Points, 1st in Wildcard (12 Games Remaining)

Home (7): WSH, STL, CGY, LA, NYR, DET, WPG

Away (5): TOR, NYI, CHI, NSH, STL

Opponents in Playoffs: 10

WPG Jets, 82 Points, 2nd in Wildcard (12 Games Remaining)


Away (5): EDM, VAN, MIN, STL, COL

Opponents in Playoffs: 9

CGY Flames, 81 Points, 9th place (12 Games Remaining)

Home (6): PHI, CBJ, COL, DAL, ARI, LA

Away (6): MIN, NSH, DAL, STL, EDM, WPG

Opponents in Playoffs: 5

As you can see above, the Kings are the only team that has a disadvantage in terms of Home to Away games (4:8). This is important as LA has not been very good on the road, with a mark of 12-14-7 . LA will be playing some tough opponents on the road, including a long 5 game road trip in NJ, NYR, NYI, MIN, and CHI. If the Kings are going to make the playoffs they are certainly going to earn it as the schedule doesn’t get any easier looking ahead. WPG and MIN also have very tough schedules and it will be interesting to see how big of an impact it has on the postseason race.

My Prediction: L.A.’s big guns step up and win most of their key games (against CGY & VAN) and squeak in as the 3rd seed in the Pacific Division. The Flames continue to falter and not sustain their level of play (current 2 game losing streak) without their Captain (Mark Giordano). Flames fall to 4th in the Pacific and don’t have enough to get in the playoffs.