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Off-Day Watch 3/19: Boo, math

Now it’s time to ruin things for other teams!

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Los Angeles Kings Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s official: with 10 games left, the Los Angeles Kings have been eliminated from playoff contention.

It happened with a whimper, not a bang. In a third period where the Kings were trailing by just one goal, they mustered only two shots. Sure, there were a handful of shots that went wide, and the Jets did their share of work to block shots, but.

Two shots.

It’s not as though elimination wasn’t expected — the fact that it hadn’t happened earlier is a testament to how underwhelming the West has been this season. But happening like this — with not much fight shown by the Kings outside of the last two minutes of play — feels like the very awkward, sad bow on top of a very awkward, sad present that you didn’t exactly want in the first place.

The Kings, the first team in the West to be officially eliminated, join the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and New Jersey Devils in late-season irrelevance. It’s been a long, painful season, and if you weren’t already looking forward to what comes next for this franchise, now’s the time to start.

Tomorrow, we’ll be taking a look at some of the top draft candidates, going beyond Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, just in case the worst case scenario befalls the Kings. Until then, spend some time getting to know the Tankathon draft simulator. It took me 15 tries to get this result.

Kings Things

The win wasn’t a dominant one for the Jets, but it was still a win. [Arctic Ice Hockey]

The most notable thing in the third period was Kyle Clifford trying to spark some energy. It didn’t work. [Jewels from the Crown]

Post-game notes and quotes from Willie Desjardins, Anze Kopitar, Brendan Leipsic, and Sean Walker. [Kings Insider]

Who needs Jack Hughes more? The Kings or the Ducks? [The Athletic]

Kings equipment manager Darren Granger has seen a lot over his 2,000 NHL games. [Los Angeles Times]

The Kings moms tell all their secrets from this year’s mom’s trip. [LA Kings]

Elsewhere

The Minnesota Whitecaps sold out all of their home games, their playoff games, and now they’re NWHL champions in their inaugural season in the league. [StarTribune]

Young players like Jakub Vrana, Matthew Tkachuk, and Mikko Rantanen are taking the next steps to help lead their teams to success. [NBC Sports Washington]

Jordan Staal has overcome adversity to persevere in the NHL, recently earning his 500th point. [Canes Country]

Rebecca Johnston of the Calgary Inferno, Marie-Philip Poulin of Les Canadiennes de Montréal, and Natalie Spooner are this year’s nominees for MVP in the CWHL. [The Ice Garden]

After each reaching 600 career wins, John Tortorella and Peter Laviolette took some time to reflect on their careers to date. [USA Hockey]

Oklahoma native and Bigfoot enthusiast Matt Donovan is finding a home in the Nashville Predators organization. [Nashville Predators]

Vinnie Hinostroza, who is of Ecuadorean descent, is helping to raise hockey’s visibility in the country. [The Athletic]

Annie Pankowski of the Wisconsin Badgers balances playing hockey with training puppies who will grow to be guide dogs. [The Ice Garden]

Winners and losers from this year’s NHL trade deadline. [ESPN]

Everyone says “one league” is the way to go with professional women’s hockey. But what would one league really look like? [ESPNW]

Zach Aston-Reese: hockey player, graphic designer. [Pittsburgh Penguins]

Evening Entertainment

There are so many games on tonight? WTF? Why?

The Pittsburgh Penguins facing off against the Carolina Hurricanes should be good — it’s a meaningful game for both teams, especially as Carolina looks to stay in the playoff race. That one starts at 4:00 pm Pacific and can be streamed via the NHL’s service.

For a late game, the Columbus Blue Jackets head to Calgary to take on the Flames. The Blue Jackets, despite going all in, are just clinging to the last wild card spot in the East. Two points tonight against the best team in the Pacific would help solidify that. Check out that game at 6:00 pm Pacific on ESPN+_or on the NHL’s streaming service.