So, it’s not going to come down to the wire after all.
Kings fans found themselves in the strange position of having to root for the Blackhawks tonight. Playing their long-time rivals the St. Louis Blues, a Chicago win would not only be a huge blow to the Blues’ chances, but would also automatically clinch a playoff spot for the Kings.
For about nearly 50 minutes, that didn’t look like it was going to happen, as the Blues maintained a 3-2 lead at nearly the midway point of the third period.
Never trust the St. Louis Blues, though — Jake Allen gave up the tying goal to Alex DeBrincat, and with eight seconds left in the third, allowed the go-ahead goal to Duncan Keith, just his second goal of the season. It was a stunning collapse for the Blues, who at one point had a 3-1 lead before allowing a shorthanded goal to Blake Hillman, a rookie defenseman playing in his second professional hockey game.
We can finally forgive Duncan Keith for hitting Jeff Carter in the face. Playoffs!!— THX BUD (@thxbud) April 5, 2018
So, thanks, Chicago, for sending the Kings back to the post-season!
This is kind of weird to say since we have history and all, but, um...— LA Kings (@LAKings) April 5, 2018
It means a lot.
This will be the Kings’ first playoff appearance since 2015-16, and John Stevens’ first as a head coach since the 2008-09 Flyers.
If the standings hold, the Kings will be seeing their good friends the San Jose Sharks. That could change by the end of the night, depending on the outcome of the in-progress Anaheim Ducks/Minnesota Wild game.
At the beginning of the season, few hockey analysts predicted that the Kings would be making their triumphant return to the post-season. A few of us here were more confident that they’d squeak in, in true Kings fashion. For a team in a bit of an on-the-fly rebuild, missing their number-two center for most of the season, it sure feels good to be back here.
The last two games for the Kings now are all about positioning — and avoiding a potential first-round matchup with Nashville. It’s going to be a wild one, and we’re excited to share it with all of you.
Congratulations to the Kings!