Let's pretend for a moment that we hadn't bought into the hype about the Kings being cup contenders. I said I didn't buy it (in my season preview) but even I bought in a little. Now, though, the hype has gone off the deep end in the opposite direction.
The season is not "over." The Kings are not "done." They just can't score, is all. Luckily, no one can score on them either. A lot of teams would like to bottle that.
Below are the fresh points-blown standings. Let me make some observations.
- Eight teams -- the Blackhawks, Coyotes, Flames, Kings, Stars, Wild, Avalanche and Ducks -- are fighting for three playoff spots (6, 7, 8).
- CHI is 4 PBs up on the Kings. ANA and COL are 5 PBs behind.
- The Predators and Sharks are, in my opinion, at the upper range of teams the Kings can still reach (especially since SJS lost yesterday, and have dropped three in a row).
- Out of 23 remaining games, the Kings play those nine teams fifteen times. That's good news. Really, all they have to do is mind their own business.
- A record of 14-7-2 will get the Kings to 95 points. That will almost (but not quite) certainly be good enough to make the playoffs.
- 14-7-2 is roughly the same 4 wins every six games I mapped out for the Kings when Sutter took over.
- San Jose is only 8 points-blown ahead of the Kings. The Kings are only two ROWs behind the Sharks. The Sharks are a point ahead in the season series, with three games remaining. In other words, if the Kings can catch the Sharks in points, they will almost certainly prevail in the wins tiebreaker, and the season series tie-breaker if it comes to that.
- The Kings' last two games of the season are against the Sharks.
- The Sharks' schedule, like the Kings', is brutal. The Sharks have 16 games against teams trying to catch them in the West, plus others against DET, STL, BUF, PHI. Their two games before the Kings home-and-home are against Dallas, who also would like to challenge San Jose for the division title. In all, they play the Kings, Stars and Coyotes three times each and the Ducks twice. That's 11 games against highly-motivated opponents.
- Which is why -- as crazy as it might sound -- I think the Kings need to target 1st in the division.
- p.s. everyone's schedule is nasty. Anaheim's looks a little easier than the others. Chicago's looks bad. The Kings are right in the thick of it, with as good a chance as anyone...provided they find a way to score just a leeeeeetle bit more.
- Q is my standings, default sorted by points-blown (explanation of points-blown here).
- NHL is the official standings, via NHL.COM.
- PRJ is projected point total for 82 games.
- TO 95 is the record needed to get to the presumed (by me) playoff-threshold.
- PB is points-blown.
- 8th+/- is the distance in points-blown above or below the 8th seed.
- LA+/- is the distance in points-blown between that team and the Kings.
- GD is goal-differential.
- GP is games-played.
- ROW is regulation wins plus OT wins (but not SO wins). The first tiebreaker.
- SS is the Kings point advantage (+) or disadvantage (-) in the season series against that team. If a team has clinched the season series, its name appears in the column.
- SSGR is the number of games remaining in the season series.
Click on the headers to sort.
[it is sometimes the case that the site needs to be set to "wide" view in the right margin of the page, in order for the chart not to get mangled]