The Good: Phoenix loses (!), Nashville loses, Minnesota loses. (last night: Detroit lost, Calgary lost)
The Bad: Vancouver wins, Colorado wins, St. Louis wins. (last night: San Jose won, Kings half-lost, Vancouver won, Dallas won)
What of it?
Despite losing and half-losing their last two games, the Kings are still deadlocked with Vancouver and Colorado, only now it's a three way tie for 3rd, with Phoenix one point behind after tonight's loss. One point separates 3rd from 6th. (However, the Kings will not get to third -- unless they overtake San Jose -- because no matter what one of Vancouver or Colorado will get the automatic 1st-3rd seed.) Below that group of four teams (LAK, VAN, COL, PHX), there are seven teams separated by 8 points fighting for the 7th and 8th seeds. Within that group, four teams -- CAL, DET, DAL and ANA -- are separated by one point. If Nashville can maintain their slim lead on those teams and hold onto 7th, it may well be those four teams battling for the last spot. How do their last weeks of the season look? [checking]
Calgary has four games left against Minnesota (that's a series right there), two against Detroit and two against Anaheim, in addition to having the most brutal schedule in general. They finish the season with COL, CHI, MIN, SJS and VAN. I think their schedule will get the best of them.
Detroit has two against Calgary. Four of their last seven games are against Nashville or Columbus. I think they'll probably get healthy and get in as 7th or 8th.
Dallas has two games against Anaheim. They finish the season with EDM, STL, CHI, ANA, MIN. Those are three tough last games to close it out. If they're on the bubble, I think they miss out.
Anaheim has the two Dallas games, the two Calgary games, They finish the season with DAL, VAN, LA, LA, DAL (all hard games) and then STL and EDM. Those two LA games will likely put the Ducks' fate in the Kings' hands.
On the last weekend of the season, we have the following potentially fateful matchups to look forward to: Kings v. Avs, Stars v. Wild, Flames v. Canucks, Wings v. Hawks and Oilers v. Ducks. Less than two months away.
Here are the standings:
- San Jose Sharks 33 (1) +11
- Chicago Blackhawks 35 (2) +9
- Los Angeles Kings 44 (5) --
- Vancouver Canucks 44 (3) 0
- Colorado Avalanche 44 (6) 0
- Phoenix Coyotes 45 (4) -1
- Nashville Predators 51 (7) -7
- Dallas Stars 54 (9) -10
- Detroit Red Wings 54 (10) -10
- Calgary Flames 55 (8) -11
- Anaheim Ducks 55 (11) -11
- Minnesota Wild 58 (13) -14
- St. Louis Blues 59 (12) -15
- Columbus Blue Jackets 65 (14) -21
- Edmonton Oilers 76 (15) -32
These are standings in points-blown.
Two points "awarded" for every loss, one point for every OTL/SOL. Lowest point total is best. Number in parentheses is the official standings (via ESPN). Last number (+/-) is number of points (in my system) ahead or behind Los Angeles. Because it's a Kings-centric universe.
Tie breaker is games-played, except that the winner of the tie breaker is the team who has played more games. If this seems counter-intuitive, consider this: A team with a 10-2 record is better than a team with a 2-2 record, who is, in turn better than a team that's 0-2.