With Calgary’s loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon the Kings have clinched their first playoff berth since 2002. Even if Calgary won all of their remaining games and the Kings lost all of theirs, the Flames would tie the Kings in points and lose a tiebreak in number of wins. (To be clear, the Flames can still make the playoffs, but the Kings cannot be eliminated.)
The last time the Kings visited the playoffs they lost in 7 games to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche. The Avs would go on to face the Red Wings in the Conference Finals. Meanwhile, the Kings never broke 90 points and only broke 40 wins once in the following 6 seasons (this season excluded).
The Kings have an opportunity to record their highest point total since 1991 when they registered 102 and finished 1st in the Smythe Division.
That task will not be easy considering the Kings will have to face Anaheim, Colorado, and Phoenix. Anaheim desperately clings to their playoff hopes, sitting in 10th place and trailing 8th place Colorado by 4 points. Colorado will be no less desperate as they try to slide into the playoffs on the heels of an expectation-exceeding season. Phoenix is headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 as well and sit firmly at 4th in the West with 102 points through 79 games.
Not to be forgotten, the Kings will also face the Edmonton Oilers. Although they sit out of the playoff picture, the Oilers will certainly be motivated to finish their dreadful season on a high note.
Although the Kings could finish as high as 4th, they are more likely to slot somewhere between 5th and 7th.
The Kings will rest tomorrow before heading down the Freeway to Anaheim for the last time this regular season. Puck drops at 7pm PT on Tuesday.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney