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Playoff Scenarios: Kings Not Dead, But Need a Little Help

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happy thoughts
happy thoughts
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The worst possible result for the Kings today, as they dropped a winnable game against Edmonton in regulation, while the Jets and Flames won in regulation. That's the bad news. The good news is that while LA's playoff hopes are now hanging by a thread, they are not dead yet. The four remaining relevant games of the season are Winnipeg-Colorado (on Thursday), Los Angeles-Calgary (on Thursday), San Jose-Los Angeles (on Saturday) and Calgary-Winnipeg (on Saturday).

There are three possible outcomes to that Winnipeg-Colorado game, which will create different playoff scenarios for the Kings. Let's look:

Winnipeg Gets Two Points Against Colorado

  • This is the simplest scenario. If this happens, the Kings can no longer catch the Jets. That means the Kings have only one path to the playoffs: defeat Calgary, defeat (or at least get a point) against San Jose, and hope Winnipeg defeats Calgary on the last day.
  • Notice I didn't specify in regulation: the Kings basically have a point to give in this scenario. If they defeat Calgary in regulation, then Winnipeg can defeat Calgary in overtime and the Kings will still make it (with 97 points to Calgary's 96). But if the Kings only defeat Calgary in overtime, they will need Winnipeg to defeat Calgary in regulation to qualify. And if the Kings defeat Calgary in regulation and the Jets defeat Calgary in regulation, then the Kings could even lose to San Jose in overtime and still qualify (with 96 points to Calgary's 95).
  • Note that no matter what, the Kings are dependent on a Winnipeg team that has already clinched to defeat a Calgary team that has everything to play for. Not ideal. At least the Jets are really good, and will get Dustin Byfuglien back.
Winnipeg Gets One Point Against Colorado
  • If this happens, the Kings can now catch the Jets with two wins and a Jets regulation loss against Calgary (97 points each, Kings win tiebreaker).
  • But the Kings don't quite control their own destiny. If they won out and Calgary were to defeat Winnipeg in overtime, the Kings would be out (Winnipeg 98 points, Calgary 97, Kings 97 and lose tiebreaker).
  • The Kings' chances of catching the Flames would still be the same as the scenario above. There would just be one more outcome of the Winnipeg-Calgary game that would get them in. The Jets would be playing for something in this scenario, which would be nice.
Winnipeg Gets No Points Against Colorado
  • If this happens, the Kings are back to controlling their own destiny. Two wins to finish the season, including beating Calgary in regulation, and LA get 97 points; the loser of Winnipeg-Calgary, even if it goes to OT, would either have 96 (Calgary) or 97 and lose the tiebreaker (Winnipeg).
  • The Kings could also qualify with 1 point against Calgary, 2 points against San Jose (or vice versa), and Winnipeg losing to Calgary in regulation (96 points to 96 points, LA wins tiebreaker). I wouldn't count on this.
So note that to make the playoffs, the Kings pretty much need to defeat Calgary on Thursday, and it would be very very helpful to do so in regulation. They have to get at least a point against the Sharks on Saturday, and much more likely than not they have to get two. And they have to get a little help.