The Kings' Championship Résumé
The season is still young but the Kings have been pretty wonderful.
It was about a month and a half ago when I wrote that the Kings were still very good and would win lots of games soon. As usual, I was absolutely correct about everything.
If we're trying to figure out who the best team in the league is, the Kings have already put together a pretty impressive body of work.
The stats are extremely impressive. Their performance so far this season has been almost overwhelmingly dominant. Case in point: yesterday's stellar effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins were utterly outmatched, and not even score effects prevented them from getting run over.
What's more impressive is who the Kings have done this against.
The Kings are not dominating the dregs of the league. The Kings have played just 9 games this season against teams that have a sub-50% Corsi since last season started. In fact, if we look at 9-game rolling averages (because 82 games can roughly be divided by 9), the Kings will actually complete their toughest stretch of the entire season tonight against Tampa Bay.
(yellow means neutral, green means tough, red means difficult)
As you can see, the front third of this schedule has been pretty difficult. Despite this, the Kings have rolled. They have produced "signature" wins against the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, and New York Islanders.
The only question for the Kings right now was hinted at in the THX BUD post linked above: can the Kings survive their typical winter gloom?
We don't have any certain answer to this, but there is no reason to believe that the Kings are about to go into the tank. Aside from their ridiculously good possession metrics so far this season, the Kings' schedule is about to go into the toilet. From games 29 to 55, the Kings will play just nine games against teams with a Corsi greater than 50% since the start of the 2014-15 season.
All that should hold the Kings back, schedule-wise, is the fact that their home-away schedule is about to balance out. After tonight, the Kings will have completed their third 4+-game homestand of the season. They'll hit the road for 10 of the following 11 games.
Of course, the world is littered with stories of people underestimating what they're up against, but the fact of the matter is that the Kings are about to play a lot of very bad hockey teams. They still have to go out there and make good plays, but they will be a heavy favorite in basically every game they play for the next month.
This is a long way off and these numbers will of course look different by then, but the Kings will have a pretty neutral schedule as they bring the season to a close.
The biggest perk of being the Los Angeles Kings seems to be that they never have to face the Los Angeles Kings. The Los Angeles Kings are very tough, and avoiding them seems to be for the best.