LA Kings’ McLellan: Avs’ Top-Spot Aspirations “Should Get Our Attention”

LA Kings (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

The LA Kings season is just about complete, but their remaining opponent still has an incentive to win. Todd McLellan explains.

While this remains an audition window for next season for the LA Kings, they enter their final series of the regular season with a reason for motivation. Their final opponent of the season, the Colorado Avalanche, is already going to the playoffs — that much we knew. However, the Avs have a little more to play for as they are vying for the NHL’s Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the top-seeded regular-season team.

For those who suggest that the Presidents’ Trophy is more, or as, important as the Stanley Cup would be, with all due respect, mistaken. Of course, while it may not be the hardware the Avs really want, winning the Presidents’ Trophy would definitely do morale wonders for a team that has spent many years building themselves into a serious championship contender.

Entering Wednesday’s action, the Avs sit just two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for first overall. The latter, however, only has one game remaining on the schedule, whereas the Avalanche have two — both against the Kings.

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Following practice on Wednesday, Kings head coach Todd McLellan spoke about his team’s preparation for a pair of games emphatically circled on their opponents’ calendars.

“We’re gonna play the hand we’re dealt and the fact we’re on the road against perhaps the best team in the National Hockey League and they get something to play for should get our attention,” McLellan said of the Avalanche. “It should keep our attention at this time of year. These are hard games to play, hard games to motivate the guys for, but we are a group of professionals. We’ve accepted the responsibility of putting on that jersey and I expect the good effort from our guys.”

While winning the Presidents’ Trophy would be a fine accomplishment, the award will also come with its share of pressure.

Since the award was first presented in 1986, only eight Presidents’ Trophy winners have won the Stanley Cup with the most recent being the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks. With that said, though, it is noteworthy to mention that one of those winners was the 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche.

We shall see how the Avs fare on Wednesday and Thursday and, of course, how the Kings will stack up as they hope to end their season on a high note.