Analyzing LA Kings Potential Stanley Cup Playoffs Opponents

Feb 28, 2023; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Los Angeles Kings celebrate their shoot out win over the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2023; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Los Angeles Kings celebrate their shoot out win over the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports /
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Vegas Golden Knights

When the Golden Knights joined the NHL in 2017, they became instant rivals with the Kings since the franchises are just 270 miles apart, and the fact that Vegas swept LA in their first-ever postseason meeting.

Interestingly, the rivalry never had a definitive moment that altered how each team felt about the other until the most recent NHL trade deadline when Kings icon Jonathan Quick put on a Golden Knights jersey.

Mar. 7, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) warms up before the game against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mar. 7, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) warms up before the game against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

Conversely, Quick is a 37-year-old netminder whose best days are behind him, so Kings management made a gut-wrenching decision to upgrade the position and traded him to Columbus. Even with subpar numbers, Quick still secured 11 wins for the Kings, who wouldn’t be a point out of first place without his contributions.

Now that the trade has divided the Kings’ fan base, many in the hockey community would love to see a Vegas and Los Angeles playoff matchup so that Quick has a chance to stick it to the franchise that disregarded him after many years of service.

Outside of the Dallas Stars, who currently lead the Central Division with 87 points, the top two teams in the conference are the Golden Knights and Kings, which sets the stage for an eventful first-round or even second-round matchup.

Currently, both teams have different lineups since the last meeting on Jan. 7, 2023, in which the Kings won handly 5-1, taking the lead in the season series 2-1 through three games. Even though their next matchup is three weeks away, that contest will be one of the final games of the regular season, which will significantly impact playoff seeding and opening-round matchups.