The Tampa Bay Lightning are 10 points ahead of their closest competition.
The San Jose Sharks have won six in a row.
Are you used to writing the Calgary Flames off as a bad team? Surprise! They’re second in the league.
The Vegas Golden Knights have won eight of their last 10.
There’s a lot of jockeying for position up at the top; seven teams are clustered together, having between 58 and 62 points. If you’re a fan of a contender, well, buckle up, because it’s going to be a wild ride.
But what’s the picture look like for those of us at the bottom end of the spectrum?
Well, it’s got the potential to be as much of a wild ride as it is for teams chasing hockey’s ultimate prize.
Point projections over the past fortnight. pic.twitter.com/LTCEpr3jfG— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 13, 2019
For as bad as the Kings are, other teams are racing to join them in the quest for Jack Hughes. The Ottawa Senators have only won two of their last 10 games—and remember, they don’t even have their first round draft pick anymore. The Flyers have one win in their past 10 and are in much of the same “do we tear it down” conundrum as the Kings are. The Blackhawks have won enough games lately (Four of them. Four wins.) that the word “playoffs” keeps popping up, even though they’re six points out of a wild card spot and are, in fact, still not a good team.
For as bad as the Kings are, at least everyone generally seems to accept that playoffs aren’t happening. So that’s a thing.
Playoff chances, West and East. pic.twitter.com/jhUMXPHMDC— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 12, 2019
Anaheim, uh, exists. Amazingly, despite losing 10 straight games, the Ducks are only one point out of the wild card position. I don’t know when they banked all those points, given the many long losing streaks they’ve had lately, but barring an even greater collapse over the back half of the season, they probably won’t sink to “best chances in the draft lottery” levels.
For as crowded as it is at the top of the standings, it’s getting pretty tight down at the bottom, too. Set your sights on hoping Ottawa goes on a late season run and messes up their—wait, no, Colorado’s—shot at the top draft pickings.
Jeff Carter didn’t want us to call him disengaged again, so he went and had a three-point night. [Jewels from the Crown]
Post game notes and reactions from Willie Desjardins, Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. [Kings Insider]
There have been mixed reactions to the Kings broadcast team having various celebrities join them in the broadcast booth, but Snoop Dogg delivering play by play was the greatest thing.
Thanks to Jonny Brodzinski for providing us with proof of life for both him and Trevor Lewis, who appears to have graduated to a walking boot, rather than his charming little knee scooter thing.
And over on Twitter, we’ve been delivering you gamescore cards. (If you need an explanation of gamescore, start with this thread.) (If you’re not following us on Twitter, what are you waiting for?)
Tonight's gamescore card is here. Jonathan Quick, unsurprisingly, comes out on top with his 38 save performance. Carter, Muzzin, Leipsic all with breakout games (performance better than their average gamescore). pic.twitter.com/Ps6Bvtu4Kv— Jewels from the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) January 13, 2019
The case for and against trading Jonathan Quick. [The Athletic]
In another high-scoring affair, the Ontario Reign fell 6-5 in overtime to the Stockton Heat. [Reign Insider]
The USA under-18 women’s squad took silver in the U-18 Women’s World Championship, falling 3-2 to Canada in overtime. [USA Hockey]
Nikita Kucherov has 75 points in 45 games. That’s good, right? [Washington Post]
In-game player tracking is coming. What does that mean for players and viewers? [The Athletic]
More details on live, in-game player tracking. [AP News]
Metropolitan Riveters head coach Randy Velischek talks about his team’s struggles and what they need to do to get back on track. [The Ice Garden]
A look at top draft prospects not named Jack Hughes. [Blueshirt Banter]
The Tampa Bay Lightning are exceptionally good at trades and knowing when it’s better to part ways with a player, no matter how promising. [Yahoo Sports]
Still used to ignoring Calgary except for when they play the Kings? You can watch them take on the somehow-surging-despite-injuries Arizona Coyotes tonight, as that matchup is the free streaming game on NHL.com. It starts at 6:30 pm Pacific.