Here are two prominent areas of the LA Kings performance to watch out for in the coming weeks as standings start to solidify.
Since the team’s tough 4-3 shootout loss on February 9 against San Jose, the LA Kings have bounced back beautifully, going on a four-game winning streak and occupying the fourth playoff spot in the West Division, entering Monday’s game against the Blues.
The team this season has proven to show many ups and downs in their 60-minute efforts. As of lately, though, the team appears to be coming together in regards to playing a complete game of hockey. Their bottom-six forwards have played excellent hockey as of late, keeping LA in respectable contention to make a playoff run in a few months. That is, of course, if the team can keep this hot streak going.
LA Kings four-game win streak
After falling short of the victory in a shootout against San Jose, the Kings bounced back immediately two days later. Not only did they bounce back, but they absolutely pummeled the Sharks in a comfortable 6-2 victory. That particular game really goes to show the LA Kings can score a lot of goals if they decide to show up each game.
Following the win over the Sharks, the Kings were given four days off before playing the Minnesota Wild for the fifth time this year.
Thankfully, they completely outplayed the Wild, giving them little to no offensive chances, shutting them out 4-0. Out of five meetings between the two teams, the Kings have only won twice. Luckily for them, this all West Division schedule will give them a few more opportunities to redeem themselves to either even up the series or take it for themselves.
Following the Wild series, the Kings evidently had their minds fixated on taking four points from the Arizona Coyotes. In back-to-back wins against Arizona, the Kings played very tight hockey in this series, winning their first of the two in a 3-2 shootout. Two nights later, they came out just as aggressive and put the Wild away once again in a 4-2 finish on a nice-looking empty netter from Alex Iafallo.
During the post-game interview after the win over the Coyotes, Todd McLellan commented on the team’s shift in momentum and why he thinks they’re playing so well as of recent.
“It was a four-line game again for most of the night. Everybody contributed. All six D played and were effective. That’s always a good thing. You gain confidence with wins, and you lose confidence when you lose games. Having a bit of swagger, without arrogance, is always a good thing as a hockey club,” said McLellan.
From the sound of it, attitude seems to be a key variable in the team’s performance recently. If that’s the case, let the guys walk around with a little “swagger,” as the coach likes to put it. If it means better performance out of the guys, then let’s not fix what isn’t broken at the moment.
LA Kings Push for the Playoffs
After a rough start to the season, going 3-7-2 for the first twelve-game stretch, the LA Kings made one astounding comeback in the standings as of recent.
In their last six games, the Kings really caught the league’s attention by making a climb in the standings for the West Division. Given how much shorter this season is compared to the normal 82-game stretch, it is imperative for the team to outwork their opponents day in and day out.
The Kings are not known to have pure superstars that consistently put up multipoint games. They play as a team and cover all 200 feet of the ice for a full 60-minute push. They outwork their opponent on both sides of the puck. Coach McLellan has been known to run all four lines to keep fresh legs out consistently.
Something to keep in mind during this hot streak is the Kings impressive display on the defensive side of the puck. This jump in the standings has now moved them right to the middle of the pack in goals for (GF) and goals against (GA) throughout the NHL.
One player who has really shown up to play in all 16 games this year is the well-deserving Slovenian captain for this squad. Anze Kopitar has had himself one recognizable season thus far, snatching 21 points putting him in the league’s top 10 in total points scored.
With the Kings now tied in the standings alongside Arizona at 17 points, the team is looking to extend this streak for a little longer to set themselves up for a more comfortable spot in the West Division. Kings fans should be in high spirits based on the team’s recent efforts and be looking ahead to what appears to be much tougher competition tonight as they face the 7th best team in the league, the St. Louis Blues.