The Los Angeles Kings have had their share of ups and downs this year and despite having their top two scorers sidelined late in the season, they’re still on course for a playoff berth and a top-10 spot in THN.com’s latest NHL Power Rankings.
The Kings, who beat Dallas 3-1 Saturday in a crucial battle of Pacific Division rivals, currently sit fourth in the Western Conference and need just one point in their final four games to lock up a post-season slot. That’s impressive considering, within a one-week stretch in late March, key forwards Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams were sidelined for the year with serious injuries.
The Kings have been victorious in two of three games without Williams and Kopitar, once again leaning on the stellar goaltending skills of starter Jonathan Quick and backup Jonathan Bernier to get them wins. In their past nine wins, the goalies have surrendered just 13 goals and only once allowed as many as three goals in that span.
The Kings will need their netminders to be just as good in their remaining regular season games, as all four come against Pacific Division teams (one each against San Jose and Phoenix and a back-to-back, home-and-home series against Anaheim to end the season) either angling to make the playoffs or improve their post-season position.
Relentless Canucks have a .912 winning percentage when leading after the first period (31-2-1)
Caps have league’s only plus-.500 win percentage when trailing after 20 minutes (15-11-3, .517)
Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley combined for 254 points last season; with four games left to play this season, they’ve combined for 197
Wings have blocked just 887 shots this season; only Devils (839) have blocked fewer
Penguins haven’t won when trailing after 40 minutes of play (0-19-1)
Slumping Flyers have only two power play goals in their past 11 games (2-for-28)
Keith Yandle averaging 24:21 of ice time per game - nearly three minutes more than next-best Coyote (Adrian Aucoin, with 21:45)
Bruins worst in the league in takeaways (406)
Since beginning of March, Kings have killed off all but two of their opponents’ power plays (42 for 44)
Hot-and-cold Bolts on a roll with five straight wins
Preds’ final three regular season games all against non-playoff teams (Atlanta, Columbus and St. Louis)
Ryan Getzlaf leads team in hits (179)
Blueshirts have yet to lose when leading after two periods (28-0-0)
Hawks will face former Habs platoon in consecutive games this week when they take on Carey Price and Canadiens in Montreal Tuesday, then Jaro Halak and Blues in Chicago the next night
Desperate Canes take on Wings, Thrashers and Lightning in their final three regular season games
Jhonas Enroth doing well in relief of injured Ryan Miller, but Sabres need their best player back to have any hope in playoffs
Tired Habs have two goals in their past four losses and both came in the same game
If Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin each score one more goal, Leafs will have three 30-goal scorers; last time they had two, it was Mats Sundin and Alex Mogilny in the 2002-03 campaign
Jarome Iginla has 13 more goals, 16 more points than any other Calgary player
Sagging Stars just 10-23-9 when their opponent scores the game’s first goal
Only Devils (26.2) have averaged fewer shots against per game than Blues (27.6)
Thrashers are league’s softest team - only 1433 hits
Devils a combined 23-16-3 against Atlantic and Southeast Division teams, but just 5-12-1 against Northeast Division
Isles lead NHL in blocked shots (1345), takeaways (835)
Rick Nash likely to be the only Blue Jacket with more than 60 points this season
In their past 18 losses, Wild have scored more than two goals only twice
Sens have league’s worst 5-on-5 goals-for/against ratio (0.72)
Last time Panthers won two or more consecutive games came in mid-January
Avs are second only to Thrashers for league’s worst win percentage when scoring the first goal in a game (18-11-4, .545)
Oilers are the NHL’s most careless team; worst in the league in giveaways (937)
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.
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