The last quarter. Did we toss it in the wishing well?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 13: Goalie Jonathan Quick #32 and Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings embrace after the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Staples Center on March 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings won 5-2. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

There has been much angst amongst Kings fans about losing the last 2 games to San Jose, losing a division title to Phoenix, and drawing the #1 seeded Vancouver Canucks as a first round opponent. Will this be a matter of the Kings being over-matched, or is this troubled angst amongst Kings fans the result of some letting their imaginations run away from them, and thinking we're totally screwed?

Drawing the top team in the league is definitely something that shouldn't be taken lightly for any reason, but are the Vancouver Canucks a better team than the Kings are right now? Maybe the Kings have actually become one of the best teams in the Western Conference and nobody has taken notice yet.

Vancouver has been at, or near the top, all season long in the standings; and if you hadn't noticed the Kings struggles this season, then you weren't paying attention. Looking at the entire Western Conference in the last 21 games has opened my eyes to a whole new appreciation for how good this Kings team really is right now.

Looking first at the stretch drive, the 8 teams to secure a seeding 1 thru 8 ended their seasons very differently. Ranking them by winning percentages, and records through their last 21 games to see who's ready for the playoffs, we see that the Kings actually ranked very well.

Winning Percentage

1. Los Angeles - 13-5-3 (72.2%)

2. Chicago -12-5-4 (70.5%)

T3. Vancouver - 12-6-3 (66.6%)

T3. St.Louis - 12-6-3 (66.6%)

5. Nashville - 13-7-1 (65.0%)

6. Phoenix - 11-6-4 (64.7%)

7. San Jose - 11-7-3 (61.1%)

8. Detroit - 7-10-4 (41.1%)

How are they doing offensively? Can they score?

This is how the 8 Western Conference teams did offensively down the stretch, and where they ranked.

1. Nashville - 67 GF

2. Los Angeles - 65 GF

3. Detroit - 57 GF

4. Chicago - 56 GF

T5. St.Louis - 55 GF

T5. Phoenix - 55 GF

7. San Jose - 51 GF

8. Vancouver - 50 GF

How are they doing defensively?

This is how the 8 Western Conference playoff teams ranked in goals against:

1. St.Louis - 42 GA

2. Los Angeles - 44 GA

3. Vancouver - 48 GA

4. Phoenix - 50 GA

5. San Jose - 51 GA

6. Nashville - 55 GA

7. Chicago - 59 GA

8. Detroit - 62 GA

The telling tale of how good this Kings team is may be in the goal differentials.

This is how the 8 Western Conference teams did down the stretch, and where they ranked:

1. Los Angeles - +21 GF/GA diff

2. St.Louis - +13 GF/GA diff

3. Nashville - +12 GF/GA diff

4. Phoenix - +5 GF/GA diff

5. Vancouver - +2 GF/GA diff

6. San Jose - Even GF/GA diff

7. Chicago - -3 GF/GA diff

8. Detroit - -5 GF/GA diff

Next article, I will try to look at the two styles, and try to breakdown breakouts, neutral zone, forecheck, power play, and penalty kill.


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