The Los Angeles Kings Road (Trip) To The Playoffs


Well now. It seems that the Los Angeles Kings are in a familiar position: struggle late to try to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, give fans heart attacks in the process. But do not worry, it happens every year. Call it tradition.

Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings /

Los Angeles Kings

Though unlike some of their better recent traditions, like raising the Stanley Cup, this tradition leaves fans short of breathe and pulling out their hair… and it gets even worse. These symptoms may be amplified because the Kings now have to try to start winning again on their next road trip and it is not pretty.

The Kings had an extraordinary February winning eight out of thirteen games which rocketed them back into playoff contention. Unfortunately in March, LA is 5-3-2 and are now on the outside of the wild card race looking in. It gets even better! Los Angeles starts a five-game road trip to end the month in which four of those teams are currently holding playoff spots.

One of those games is against league leader, the New York Rangers. Yes, the team the Kings beat to win the Stanley Cup last year. But getting to the Stanley Cup Final is the least of their worries. They need to find a way to get back into the playoffs.

The Kings now have to get into Stanley Cup Playoff mode.

Currently, LA is four points out of a wild card spot. The Kings had a chance to close the gap in their last two games against Anaheim and Vancouver… two games in which the Stanley Cup champs were winning at one goal. Unfortunately, the Ducks won in overtime and the Canucks answered the Kings 1-0 lead with four of their own. That is not how you want to play games going into the playoffs.

Because of that, on this road trip from hell (funny thing, they start the trip against the New Jersey Devils) Los Angeles will need to win two or three just to stay in the playoff race. Good luck with that.

But there is some good news. Things have been looking up the last few days, at least from a  roster perspective.

Jan 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez (27) after the game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center. Kings won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Kings defensemen Alec Martinez, who was out with a concussion for 18 games, returned to the line-up this past Saturday. Today it was also announced that LA has recalled veteran Mike Richards from the AHL. Though it is yet to be seen if Martinez and Richards will be the spark that propels this team forward, it will certainly bring some familiarity as both have been important pieces in the Kings’ playoff runs in the last three years.

Still, LA has a long way to go and will be in a heap of trouble if they cannot turn things around before the end of the season, especially on this road trip. Actually, that is not quite accurate. The Kings have been playing decent lately… they just need to play better. The Kings now have to get into Stanley Cup Playoff mode.

That begins in New Jersey.