As the regular season comes to a close and teams gear up for the playoffs or down for the golf course, there is plenty to take note of in the NHL.
-The Kings have picked up points in their last two games, each game an example of good and bad. First, the Kings rallied from two 3 goal deficits to beat the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout, showing they don’t quit, even in extreme diversity.
However, they lost a 2 goal lead in the 3rd period on the way to dropping a game in the shootout to Phoenix, showing they still have the tendency to lean on a lead. That isn’t going to help them win many games in the playoffs.
The Kings will need to use these last 2 games to really step up their game for the playoffs.
-While on the topic of Phoenix, can you guess how many 20 goal scorers they have through 81 games this season? No? One. Radim Vrbata. (I’m not counting Lee Stempniak or Wojtek Wolski who joined the team at the deadline). Does that not tell you how valuable Bryzgalov has been?
-The Edmonton Oilers are a team minus-270, worst in the league and a distant 82 south of the next worst team, Tampa Bay.
-If you haven’t heard this piece of wonderful drama; the Toronto Maple Leafs can prevent the Montreal Canadiens from clinching a playoff berth with a victory on Saturday.
-Or this one; the Flyers are 8th in the East and the Rangers are 9th, both with 86 points. They each have one game remaining this season… against each other. If the Rangers win, the teams will trade places. If the Rangers win in overtime, coupled with a Montreal loss to Toronto, the Habs are out of the playoffs. Wow.
-The Washington Capitals will very likely be the only team to score over 300 goals this season with 315. The next nearest team is Chicago with 269. Before you call it a sure bet that Washington takes the Cup, 15 teams have allowed fewer goals than Washington, 13 of which are playoff bound.
-If Los Angeles and Nashville manage two points or more each in their last two games, the Western Conference will finish with 7 teams that have earned 100 or more points. The East currently has one, Washington, with a whopping 120, and only 4 possible teams that can achieve 100 or more. For more perspective, if Anaheim was in the East, they would be in playoff position (currently 11th in the West).
-We are currently looking at 5 teams making the playoffs that did not make them last year. Phoenix and Los Angeles look to have made the biggest jumps, the Coyotes going from 13th last season to 4th. The Kings were in 14th last year and can finish as high as 5th.
-If Henrik Sedin hadn’t scored any of his 29 goals this season he would still be tied for 17th in scoring in the NHL with his 79 assists.
-Keith Tkachuk had 2 assists in his last home game as a St. Louis Blue and an NHL player last night. We’ll miss the hits, the goals, but most of all that salt and pepper beard, sir.
-After years of hearing he was an under-performing goat in Toronto, Nik Antropov has racked up 67 points this season. Oh, he’s in Atlanta, now it makes sense.
-16 teams have had 10 or more OTLs this season, including the entire Southeast Division.
-Worst home record in the league? Florida, with just 16 wins. Washington has the best with 30 wins, but Phoenix, Vancouver, and Chicago are right behind with 29 each. Edmonton has the worst road record with just 8 wins in 39 tries. Washington and San Jose are tops with 24 road wins apiece.
-On the home vs. away topic, St. Louis, Boston, and the Rangers are the odd bunch of the league, each with more road wins than home. Could their low seeds benefit the Rangers and Bruins?
The Kings can improve their position in the West with a victory over Edmonton this afternoon in L.A. Puck drops at 1pm PT.
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