Nine Numbers: LA's Playoff Spot a Testament to Consistency

The stats really do tell the story!

This season, we're tracking nine stats which we thought might help tell the story of the Los Angeles Kings' 2015-16 season, and we're bringing you updates on those stats every nine games. Previous installments:

Games 1-9
Games 10-18
Games 19-27
Games 28-36
Games 37-45
Games 46-54
Games 55-63

Another six wins in nine games for LA helped them lock up a playoff spot nice and early. What were the keys to making this year so comfortable? Read on!

(The following stats are as of March 21, 2016.)

Jonathan Quick's Save Percentage

The Kings don't often need Quick to be spectacular; they simply need him to be consistently good. He has been.

Shots on Goal by Anze Kopitar

Since the first third of the season, Kopitar has been shooting more often, and that continued into a prolific March. Kopitar racked up five goals and eight assists during this most recent nine-game stretch; shooting at that high a percentage isn't expected, but for Kopitar, it's just another aspect of another outstanding season.

Team Offensive Zone Penalties

Look how disciplined the Kings were in this past stretch! Only five overall offensive zone penalties, and if I tallied correctly, no games with more than one offensive zone penalty. That'll keep you from pulling your hair out.

Dustin Brown Points

Brown hit his nadir in the Washington and Vancouver games, in which he went back-to-back nights without a single shot on goal. After that? Fourteen shots and three goals in the ensuing six games. His eleven goals and sixteen assists match last year's output on the nose; can he hit 30 points?

Goals by Defensemen

This has quietly been one of the stories of the season. Goals are a big reason why Doughty has gotten more Norris buzz this season; his point total will be his highest since 2009-10, and he needs two goals to match his career high of 16. Meanwhile, Alec Martinez is continuing his 2014-15 trend of shooting more, and this year he's gotten 10 goals without having to match his sky-high 2013-14 shooting percentage.

Since the lockout, only five teams have had three defensemen notch double-digit goals in the same season. Two goals from Jake Muzzin in the final ten games would make LA the sixth team to do it. (In fact, only three other teams even have two double-digit scorers on their blueline this year.)

Teams with Three Defensemen Scoring 10+ Goals (Since Lockout)

Team Year #1 in D Goals #2 in D Goals #3 in D Goals
Calgary Flames 2014-15 Wideman (15) Giordano (11) Brodie (11)
Winnipeg Jets 2013-14 Byfuglien (10) Enstrom (10) Trouba (10)
Vancouver Canucks 2006-07 Salo (14) Bieksa (12) Ohlund (11)
Colorado Avalanche 2005-06 Blake (14) Liles (14) Brisebois (10)
Ottawa Senators 2005-06 Chara (16) Redden (10) Meszaros (10)
Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 Doughty (14) Martinez (10) Muzzin (8)

(note: Byfuglien scored 20 in 2013-14, but 10 were as a forward.)

Top King's NHL Score-Adjusted Corsi For% Ranking

I'm gonna use this space to talk about the longtime #2 player in the rankings, Milan Lucic. He only really gets mentioned in Nine Numbers for his retaliation penalties, but he's had a terrific possession season, and it's not just due to Anze Kopitar. Lucic has at least a 55% Corsi For with every single forward he's played with for more than ten minutes this season at even strength. Oh, and his 46 points are more than Justin Williams had in either of his last two seasons with LA, though Williams has 49 for the high-scoring Caps this year. Simply put, he's been a more-than-adequate replacement.

(As for Shore: there was a ton of debate on Twitter Monday night about whether he has had a disappointing season despite the Corsis. The answer depends entirely on your expectations of Shore.)

Tyler Toffoli's Average Time on Ice

This far into the season it takes a lot to significantly change an average built up over 63 games, so what happened? Here's what: Toffoli's HIGHEST ice time in the last nine games was 16:35, a full minute below his prior average. His lowest ice time of the season (13:18) came as his goalless streak attached to ten games against New Jersey on March 12; Toffoli responded with goals in the next two outings. This could be worrisome. Or it could be resting.

Power Play Percentage + Penalty Kill Percentage

Special teams weren't supposed to be a concern heading into the playoffs, but LA has been inconsistent on both fronts. Case in point: the Kings had four power play goals in the first three games of this stretch, then didn't pick up a single PP marker in the following six. As impressed as we all were that they could score ten goals in Chicago and Dallas without the help of the power play, a little help would be nice.

Most JftC Reader #1 Rankings for One Player

Kopitar clinched this one even earlier than the Kings clinched their playoff berth. Meanwhile, Jeff Carter got two #1 rankings despite his general slump, and Drew Doughty did earn a #1 ranking to go with his numerous runner-up finishes. (Foreshadowing?) It'll be interesting to see who earns the number two spot at year's end.