The Good: (last night) Avs lose; (tonight) nothing.
The Bad: (last night) Flames win; (tonight) Kings lose, Preds win.
Meh: (last night) Blues win, Hawks lose, Sharks win.
- Two points separate 5th from 8th.
- Kings are 7 up on Calgary (5 in the official standings, with a game in hand).
- The Wings are ahead of the Kings for the first time this season, I think. Certainly for the first time in many months.
- The Kings have squandered most but not all of the considerable wiggle room they had going into the Olympic break. The good news (hahaha) is that 2-4-1, which is the minimum they need to do in the final seven games, is exactly the same record as they have had in their previous seven games. So, I guess, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
- Here's the bad news. The remaining seven are harder than the previous seven. They've got NAS, VAN, ANA, ANA, PHX, EDM, COL. I break those games down into four sections. (1) NAS and VAN, two very tough playoff-bound teams; (2) home-and-home against the Ducks, who would love nothing more than to ruin our season; (3) Phoenix. A yard-stick game, if ever there was one. At home, with the pressure on; (4) Edmonton and Colorado, back to back, consecutive afternoon starts.
- The Kings need to get to the last weekend of the season having already clinched, or they will likely freak out and blow it. If they have to win both of those games, forget it.
- If the Kings split the next two games, then split with Anaheim (and I would say that's the most likely scenario), they will have 94 points with three games left. Calgary, meanwhile, will have played PHX, COL, CHI and SJS. Let's say they split those games, because that's possible if not likely. The Flames would have 89 points, with two games left. The Kings would have clinched.
- But: in the unlikely (and therefore certain) event that Calgary goes 3-1 in those four games, they will have 91 points with two games left, and so the Kings will have to get to 95 in order to be assured of a spot. (The Kings are almost certain to finish with more wins than the Flames, so a tie-breaker will break for L.A..) That would mean the Kings would have to squeeze a single, measly point out of the last three games.
- Which means the last two games. Because if it comes down to the last game, they will fold.
- Which means the Phoenix game, because if they have to win against Edmonton in the afternoon, they won't.
- So it all comes down to the Phoenix game. QED
- Tomorrow's big games: PHX/VAN, DET/EDM, and, of course, LAK/NAS.
Here are the standings in points-blown* (if you haven't seen my version of standings before, scroll to the bottom for the explanation):
- Chicago Blackhawks 47 (1) +13
- San Jose Sharks 48 (2) +12
Vancouver Canucks 56 (3) +4 [1st in div.]
- Phoenix Coyotes 50 (4) +10
- Detroit Red Wings 59 (6) +1
- Nashville Predators 60 (5) 0
- Los Angeles Kings 60 (7) --
- Colorado Avalanche 61 (8) -1
- Calgary Flames 67 (9) -7
- St. Louis Blues 69 (10) -9
Anaheim Ducks Minnesota Wild
Columbus Blue Jackets Edmonton Oilers
- Chicago Blackhawks**
- San Jose Sharks**
- Phoenix Coyotes**
- Vancouver Canucks 0-6-1
- Nashville Predators 0-4-1
- Detroit Red Wings 2-5-0
- Los Angeles Kings 2-4-1
- Colorado Avalanche 3-4-0
- Calgary Flames 5-1-0
- St. Louis Blues 7-0-0
Dallas Stars Anaheim Ducks Minnesota Wild Columbus Blue Jackets Edmonton Oilers
***95 points is the likely playoff threshold. It might end up being 94 or 96. 93 is unlikely to be enough for the teams currently on the outside looking in.