Kukla's Korner Hockey
Darryl Sutter after practice today, the play in Edmonton tonight...
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
On whether heavy minutes by several players last night places an emphasis on rolling four lines tonight:
No, we’re looking to win, not playing favorites, I’m not looking at last night. Other than Kopi, who did? Nobody. Other than Kopi, nobody played over their [minutes], and he had to because he was a lefthander who could win every faceoff, and he was dominant, so he went off for every backhand faceoff in his zone. And, obviously with overtime, if you figure that in, that’s 65, so there’s guys who get a couple more minutes. There was nobody that was over there. In fact, some guys were under it. Some guys were half speed and couldn’t play last night. They were just along for the ride.
more from Sutter...
Barry Melrose says Kings and Jets, in, Flames out.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
The reigning champs sure aren't making it easy on themselves. More specifically, the Sedins are making things tough. In full Game 7 mode, the Canucks came up big in the shootout with a 2-1 win over the Kings.
Career assist No. 700 for Henrik Sedin might have been the highlight of the night, when he went behind the net then sent a blind backhand in the direction of Daniel Sedin for a one-timer. It was pure Sedin and couldn't have come at a better time, tying the game up in the third period.
With the win, the Canucks moved one step closer to locking up a playoff spot and served up a reminder that the hockey world is better off with the Sedins in the postseason.
more from the ESPN crew including Lebrun on the Wild, Strang on the Jets and Burnside on the last week of the season...
from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
If the Kings miss the playoffs, it might be because of the shootout. The post-regulation skills competition has haunted them all season, and it bit them again in a 2-1 shootout loss to Vancouver at Rogers Arena.
The Kings surrendered a third-period lead, as Daniel Sedin scored with 10:06 left in regulation, then the Kings put forth a tepid effort in the shootout. Canucks goalie Eddie Lack stopped three Kings wrist shots, and Chris Higgins beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick in the third round to give Vancouver the extra point.
The Kings fell out of a playoff spot with three games remaining, and that’s largely because of extra-curricular activity. The Kings now have a 2-8 shootout record, plus a 1-7 record in games that end in the overtime period.
“We haven’t been helping Quickie out too much,’’ center Trevor Lewis said on Prime Ticket. “It’s over now. We have to move on. We only have three games left so we have to focus on the next game.’’
The Kings are technically tied with Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division but are losing the tiebreaker, and they are one point behind Winnipeg for the second and final wild-card spot. The Kings, Flames and Jets all have three games remaining.
read on for more on the game...
from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
The Kings’ final road trip of the season includes games against Vancouver (on Monday) and Calgary (Thursday). The Kings are three points behind the Canucks for second place in the Pacific Division and one point behind the Canucks, and hold one game in hand over both teams.
It stands to reason that if the Kings win both games, and beat non-playoff teams Edmonton and San Jose, they could finish second in the division and have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Then again, if the Kings struggle on the road this week, they could miss the playoffs entirely.
''It’s in our hands, and that’s how we want it,’’ center Anze Kopitar. ''We don’t necessarily love the position we’re in right now, but everything is still in our hands, and that’s the way we want it.’’
The Kings currently stand on the shakiest of ground. They hold the second and final Western Conference wild-card spot via tiebreaker, because both the Kings and Jets have 92 points with four games remaining.
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Tanner Pearson to a two-year contract extension, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
The 22-year-old Pearson (born on Aug. 10, 1992) is a 6-1, 205-pound native of Kitchener, Ontario, who has appeared in 67 career NHL regular season games, all with the Kings, totaling 23 points (15-8=23), a plus-16 rating and 22 penalty minutes.
A first round (30th overall) selection of the Kings at the 2012 NHL Draft, Pearson has tallied 16 points (12-4=16), a plus-14 rating and 14 penalty minutes this season. He has missed 34 games this season due to a lower-body injury that he sustained on Jan. 10 vs. WPG.
Pearson was part of the 2014 Stanley Cup run with Los Angeles. He has played in 25 career postseason games, registering 12 points (4-8=12), a plus-10 rating and 8 penalty minutes.
from Alex Kinkopf of LAKings.com,
Like we've come accustomed to in recent years, the Los Angeles Kings are taking their postseason push into the final stages of the NHL's regular season. Not all hope is lost, however, especially with a roster that has continually proved to come up big in high-pressure situations.
With six games left on the regular season slate, the Kings find themselves on the outside looking in at the Western Conference’s playoff picture. As of Wednesday, as the Kings prepare to start a two-game home stand at STAPLES Center, they’re slated as having a 61.1 % chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
HOME COOKIN’: The Kings return to STAPLES Center Thursday night, where they’ve posted a 22-9-7 record this season, for two match ups (EDM Thursday, COL Saturday) where extremely earnable points are up for the taking. Edmonton is already eliminated, and Colorado is on the cusp of being such. These are four points the Kings are in dire need of.
PACIFIC PUSH: It’s very much in the Kings’ favor that they will see both of the teams they’re chasing in the Pacific Division, Calgary and Vancouver, one more time each respectively. These will be huge opportunities for the Kings to gain ground in four-point game scenarios. What’s also helpful to the Kings, is the fact that they have one game in hand on each of these division foes.
from Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province,
There’s no other way to put it.
It would be insane for this to happen, but it could.
As first pointed out by the guys over at Jewels From the Crown, there’s a scenario where we find ourselves on the last day of the season and the Jets and Flames find themselves locked in battle, tied…only to stop trying with minutes to play and letting the game get to OT, because both teams earning loser points would mean the Kings get eliminated.
That’s quite the scene. Just imagine, in a season where negative play has become a much-discussed talking point, this would put a whole new twist on the concept of tanking.
Things are getting dire for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, though their remaining six games include two against the also-ran Edmonton Oilers and one against soon-to-be eliminated San Jose. Their best hope was to finish third in the Pacific and face the Canucks, who flinch at the Kings' physical game, but the Kings now trail third-place Calgary by three points and by three in the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker. The Kings have overcome daunting odds before, but this might be their toughest task.
-Helene Elliott of the LA Times.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
“They were very effective,” he said. “I’ve said it lots, right? You need everybody every shift to make the playoffs. Kopi’s line was a little off last night. Basically, all it is is Koivu’s line – three big players – dominated the game.”
And while the Kings are still fighting to get into the playoffs, and while Minnesota has risen past the wild-card fray into a divisional playoff berth for the time being (and perhaps longer), Sutter crossed one particular landing point off the postseason itinerary.
“Everybody’s trying to make the playoffs,” he said while rejecting an allusion that the team would face another “desperate” team in the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. “We still have the opportunity to get home ice, as ‘desperate’ as we are. We still have the opportunity to go home in two weeks, so it’s one of the two. You’re not going to get a wild-card spot. The wild-card’s out of the picture.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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