The Kings are coming off their best six-game roadtrip in franchise history with many positives to take into the back half of the season. On this eastern swing the Kings posted a 4-0-2 record picking up a very important 10 points before their extended lay off. Doughty also played his 1000th game, Byfield scored his first NHL goal, and Adrian Kempe made his first Allstar appearance. This highly productive roadtrip was much needed before this extended layoff for the Kings.
Coming out of this 13 day layoff the Kings first two games were against pacific division rivals. The game against Edmonton it was clear the team had rust that needed to be shaken off. After a hard fought two periods the Kings ultimately fell short in the third and found themselves on the wrong side of a four point swing. Next up was the Golden Knights and this game with a playoff like atmosphere did not disappoint. After falling behind 2-0 the Kings were able to battle back and ultimately win the game in overtime. This was a massive win for the Kings and a vital two points keeping them in a playoff position for the time being.
The western conference playoff picture appears it won’t be clear until game 82. In a recent interview with Elliot Friedman from 32 thoughts, Rob Blake disclosed he is going to be a buyer at this years trade deadline. Blake also mentioned he is looking for a left shot defensemen and some additional goal scoring to aid the dismal Kings power play. Adding defensive depth heading into the playoffs is never a bad decision but more importantly for the Kings is finding additional goal scoring.
Six points separate the top five teams in the pacific, of those five teams the Kings have the least amount of goals scored. The Kings do a tremendous job putting the puck on net and are ranked third in the NHL for shots on goal. However they aren’t converting these shots and find themselves ranked 20th in goals for. Adding another scoring winger to the lineup will create more depth in the lineup and bring a boost to the top three lines. Another added benefit of adding a scoring winger is a potential boost to the 28th ranked power play.
After a multi-year rebuild this season of Kings hockey thus far has been a success. As the roster is constructed the Kings have a strong chance at sneaking in this years playoffs. However having 25 of the remaining 33 games against western conference teams, there is very little room for error to make the final playoff push.