When I last posted about the playoff race two days ago, the Kings had just dealt with about as bad a hockey day as could have happened: the Kings lost, the Jets and Flames won, and Sekera got hurt.
Tonight, it's my happy duty to report that the Kings have had the opposite sort of day. Sekera is not unhurt, but the Kings squished Edmonton, the Flames lost in regulation, and the Jets lost in regulation Thursday night (and lost their best player to suspension for the next four games). The standings look a lot better now:
- Right now, the Kings are in! They are the second wild card and set up to face Anaheim round one, and come to think of it, I'm totally okay with that. Vancouver round one would be better, but I'd take it.
- On Tuesday, the Kings had to go 6-0-0 to be 100% sure of a playoff spot; with Winnipeg and Calgary dropping points, now a finish of 4-0-1 or better will guarantee them a spot.
- Even 4-1-0 will get themselves in 100% of the time too, provided that one of those 4 wins is over Calgary in regulation.
- But 4-0-1 or 4-1-0 is only necessary if Calgary and Winnipeg win out (although of course on the last day one of them is guaranteed to lose at least one point, because they play each other). Since Calgary is bad and Winnipeg's schedule is tough, expect them to drop points. Even 3-2-0, with one of those wins coming over Calgary, would be enough more often than not.
- Vancouver lost in regulation which keeps alive the faint possibility that LA gets the second seed--that would probably require LA to finish 5-0-0, including a win over Vancouver in regulation, and have Vancouver lose one of their other three remaining games. All that is not too likely, so it's definitely best to not worry too much about seeding and root for Vancouver to defeat Winnipeg in regulation on Saturday.
- I estimated LA's odds at a bit over 50% yesterday. After all three important games went LA's way over the last two days, I think it's at 75% or so now. With so few games left, every one of them makes a big difference.