LA Kings: West Division power rankings after Week Eight

LA Kings (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Vegas Golden Knights are starting to pull away in the West Division. Meanwhile, the LA Kings are becoming a hard team to figure out.

Raise your hand if you had Anze Kopitar leading the West Division in points, Dustin Brown tied for the division lead in goals, and Drew Doughty leading the division’s defensemen in scoring as we neared the midway point of this 2021 season.

For all the talk of the LA Kings rebuilding and transitioning to a new era, it’s their three longest-tenured skaters who’ve been doing the most to keep them in the playoff hunt this season. On Saturday, it was Kopitar willing the team back from a 3-0 deficit, scoring twice and then setting up the tying goal before they went on to win in overtime.

After a blown late lead on Friday led to their fourth straight defeat, Saturday’s comeback win put some wind back into LA’s sails and kept the team within striking distance of a playoff spot.

Here’s how the Kings and everyone else in the division stack up in the latest edition of our power rankings.

1. Vegas Golden Knights (16-4-1)

Last week: 1

The Vegas Golden Knights cooled down the scorching Minnesota Wild, sweeping a back-to-back set at home, then heading out and doing the same in a back-to-back set with the Sharks. The Golden Knights’ winning streak is up to six games, and they’re starting to establish themselves as the top team in the West after trading this spot with the Colorado Avalanche for most of the season so far.

Next four games: @ Wild (2), @ Blues (2)

2. Colorado Avalanche (13-7-2)

Last week: 2

The Avalanche managed only to split a pair of away games with the Sharks as well as a pair of home games against the Ducks last week. A missed opportunity against the division’s two worst teams and the Knights now lead them by five points and have a game in hand. Not helping matters either is that Nathan MacKinnon has been sidelined again.

Next four games: Coyotes (2), Kings (2)

3. St. Louis Blues (14-8-3)

Last week: 4

The Blues reclaim the third spot in our rankings after dropping below the Wild last week, though a blown 3-0 lead to the Kings on Saturday saw their winning streak snapped at four games. David Perron has been leading the charge offensively in St. Louis with 12 points in his last 10 games.

Next four games: @ Sharks, Golden Knights (2), @ Kings

4. Minnesota Wild (13-8-1)

Last week: 3

After winning six games in a row, last week wasn’t as much fun for the Wild. Minnesota dropped two games in Vegas before splitting a pair in Arizona. Meanwhile, 16-year NHL veteran Zach Parise was made a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie season. They get the Golden Knights and Coyotes again this week, this time at home.

Next four games: Golden Knights (2), Coyotes (2)

5. LA Kings (10-8-5)

Last week: 5

When the LA Kings went down 3-0 to the Blues on Saturday night, I wondered if they were going to end up following up their six-game winning streak with a six-game losing streak. Kopitar fueled the comeback, though, before Adrian Kempe won it in overtime to snap their losing streak at four games and give the LA its first win in five overtime decisions this season.

Next four games: @ Ducks (2), @ Avalanche (2)

6. Arizona Coyotes (11-10-3)

Last week: 6

A 40-save effort from Antti Raanta helped Arizona steal a win against the LA Kings last Wednesday before the Coyotes split a pair of home games with the Wild over the weekend. Injuries have derailed Raanta a bit in recent years, but when he’s right, he gives Arizona a great tandem in net with Darcy Kuemper.

Next four games: @ Avalanche (2), @ Wild (2)

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7. Sharks (8-11-3)

Last week: 7

The Sharks knew they were in tough last week with two games against the Avalanche and then two against the Golden Knights. They actually started it off with a big 6-2 win against the Avs but then lost the remaining three, getting shut out twice and outscored 13-4.

Next four games: Blues, @ Ducks (2), @ Golden Knights

8. Ducks (7-12-6)

Last week: 8

Ryan Getzlaf’s overtime winner against the Avalanche on Saturday snapped the Ducks’ nine-game losing streak.

The Ducks were actually pretty competitive in most of the nine losses in that streak. Seven of them were only by one goal, three of which were in overtime or a shootout, but, well, there’s only so much bright side to look at when you lose nine in a row.

Next four games: Kings (2), Sharks (2)