This Week in Kings (3/17/14)

When did they bring back ties?

So whatever guys this week sucked let's just be real about it. First we were LEAF'D, then we somehow lost to the Ducks 2-2 on a goal that went in off of Jake Muzzin's backside. Fun times. And now, to really put the cherry on top of this turd sundae, as I write this it sounds like Jake Muzzin is getting scratched tonight. For Matt Greene. Yep, that just sucks. Oh well, let's get going, I guess.

This Week in Games

(here's all the games involving the Pacific Division from this past week. we'll talk about the LA Kings' games in great detail, while the rest will mostly just be scores, unless I have something to say about it. you'll also get links to Eric's awesome recaps which will expand on everything I'm saying in much greater detail if you missed any of them.)

Monday, March 10th

-Phoenix Coyotes 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (SO)

-Los Angeles Kings 3, Calgary Flames 2: Oh, right, we did have one thing to be happy about this week: we beat the Flames! YEAH! It's sad that it actually feels like an accomplishment, given what the Flames did to us (TWICE!) at Staples Center, but the Kings did manage to just barely defeat one of the worst teams in the NHL. They got out to a pretty nice lead, somehow all off of deflections (?), as Justin Williams, Trevor friggin' Lewis, and Anze Kopitar all got nice little tips past Joni 'who?' Ortio to put LA up 3-0. However, Mike 'once and future King' Cammalleri scored for the Flames with less than 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd, and then Brian McGrattan somehow one-upped Lewis for random-ass goal scorers when he got one past Martin Jones with less than 2 minutes left. Kings fans everywhere clutched onto their butts while screaming "NOT AGAIN" at their televisions simultaneously, but despite great pressure at the end the Kings were able to just barely hold on for the victory. It felt way better than it probably should have, not gonna lie, and given what was to come later in the week thank god they didn't blow this one. (recap)(gamethread)

-New York Islanders 7, Vancouver Canucks 4: I struggled to figure out how I could best express the magnitude of this collapse (in case you're just now waking up out of a coma, the Canucks entered the 3rd leading 3-0 and somehow let the no-Tavares-no-Vanek Islanders score 7 goals on them, though one was an empty-netter so not TOO bad I guess), before finally coming up with the perfect plan: crowdsource it! So here is what you, The People, thought about Vancouver's epic collapse, in no more than 3 words, and boy did a lot of you have something to say: @doogie2k starts us out with an easy one, "ha ha ha", and also adds "what the f*ck." Both are appropriate. @nickgrodo thinks it was "Absolutely Exponentially Catastrophic." @sarah_connors: "every popcorn.gif ever." @mike_shoro: "TO THE ISLANDERS." Noted Canucks Hater @jnmcrms had a lot she had to share with the world: "suck it Vancouver", "/swims in tears", "HAHAHA CAHAHAHAHAHANUCKS LOL", "did vancouver riot", "tortorella smash rage", "vancouver schadenfreude best", and finally, "all the laughing." @rvp29: "IT WAS 3-0" (I guess technically over but I'll allow it because *lol*), "they Lacked goaltending", "We're sorry, Lu!", "They Lacked experience", and "goalie lacks experience" (there was definitely a theme there, huh?). @AaronWrotkowski: "Feels like '98", "Except No Bure." @dellingson91: "HA HA NUCKS." @AndrewCieslak: "SHOULD OF LUONGOED." @zoeclaire_: "lol, no shit." @NonAmericanHero: "lol Canucks lol." @emilyg819: "taste of heaven." @tylermac: "rhymes with dad." @The_Hockey_Prof: "Lack and blue" and "Gorton Catches Canucks." @SharksGotMyLeg only needs 2 words: "UHHHH OOOOOOH." @dightkwing is the first (and I think only) JFTC member to chime in: "laughed to tears", and also an accidental blank tweet that could represent him being speechless and thus works pretty well too. @tservo42: "Positively Leafian." And finally, we'll give famous-Twitter-Canucks-fan @boring_as_heck the last word, and he has many: "f*ck this team", "hate these assholes", "bad garbage team", "horrible miserable idiots", and finally, "why me, god." Indeed. I think we've just about said it all. So yeah, the Canucks lost and it was pretty funny I guess.

-Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Anaheim Ducks 1: Somehow the Actual Leafs and the Western Conference Leafs played it each other and it didn't result in a tear in the space/time continuum, so that's pretty nice.

Tuesday, March 11th

-Phoenix Coyotes 3, Florida Panthers 1

-Edmonton Oilers 4, Minnesota Wild 3 (SO): Oh hey speaking of blowing leads against awful hockey teams, the Wild also had a 3-0 lead in this one, before watching Edmonton score three unanswered goals (sadly not all in the 3rd period though) and eventually win it in a shootout.

-San Jose Sharks 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 2: The #fancystats in this game were just a wee bit ridiculous, folks. Despite leading the game for the vast majority of it (San Jose lead 2-1 11 minutes into the 1st, after having an earlier goal waved off to boot, and the game was never tied again, as Toronto's 2nd goal didn't come until it was 5-1), the Sharks managed to have an amazing 72% of overall shot attempts (69.9% of unblocked attempts), 74% of 5v5 shot attempts (74.4% of 5v5 unblocked attempts), and 84.9% (!!) of 5v5 score close shot attempts (84.6% of 5v5 score close unblocked attempts). Yep. Even if you wanna toss out all 'dem fancy stats, the Sharks just plain outshot the Leafs an incredible 48-21, including a 42-16 margin at 5v5. Not a great night for the Leafs. But don't worry, Leaf fans, you were playing the Kings soon enough!

Wednesday, March 12th

-Vancouver Canucks 3, Winnipeg Jets 2 (SO): To Vancouver's credit, they did manage to bounce back from that incredible embarrassment against the Islanders pretty well, beating a team right in the Wild Card race with them on the road (albeit one that has struggled greatly of late as well, as this was Winnipeg's seventh loss in their past nine games). Even better for them, struggling forward Alex Burrows was the one who scored their two goals, his first two of the season (lol). But because this is the Canucks, something bad still had to happen, and in this case it was losing Ryan Kesler, their leading goal-scorer, to injury. He's expected to be out for at least a couple of weeks with a sprained knee, so that won't help their playoff chances any.

-Calgary Flames 7, Anaheim Ducks 2: hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Thursday, March 13th

-Boston Bruins 2, Phoenix Coyotes 1

-San Jose Sharks 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (SO)

-St. Louis Blues 6, Edmonton Oilers 2

-Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Los Angeles Kings 2: Ugh. So the Leafs actually played pretty well to begin this one, especially on the Toronto Scale, only to fall behind 2-0 early, as Gaborik scored his first as a King less than 2 minutes into the game and Anze Kopitar added a power play goal with less than 4 minutes to go (that Gaborik also had an assist on). However, the Leafs turned it on at that point and managed to tie things up less than 4 minutes into the 2nd period.....before falling off a cliff, possession-wise. But since they're the Leafs and we're the Kings, that didn't end up mattering. The Leafs got a shorthanded goal from Mason 'at least I'm not a Canuck anymore' Raymond about five minutes into the 3rd, and then held on for dear life for the victory. Yep. Raise your hand if you're actually surprised. Didn't think so. (recap) (gamethread)

Friday, March 14th

-San Jose Sharks 4, New York Islanders 3

-Washington Capitals 4, Vancouver Canucks 3: Now relocated to the East coast for a road trip, it was Vancouver's turn to play comeback kids, as they stormed back from a 3-1 deficit in the 3rd to tie things up on Nicklas Jensen's first goal of the year, just seven-and-a-half minutes into the frame! Yeah! Unfortunately for the Canucks, they then allowed Washington to take the lead right back less than 3 minutes later, on Mike Green's 9th of the season, and lost in regulation anyway. Well, at least they were still trying, I guess.

-Detroit Red Wings 2, Edmonton Oilers 1 (SO)

-Calgary Flames 4, Dallas Stars 3 (SO): Wow, what is it with blown leads against crappy teams this week? The Stars had a 3-1 lead against Calgary blown in the 3rd, as Paul Byron (who?) scored a power play goal with just a little over 7 minutes remaining, and Mike 'yes, I'm really still a Flame' Cammalleri added his 19th 3:09 later to tie things up, before the Flames ultimately won it in a shootout. That's an unexpected helping hand to all the teams trailing Dallas; fortunately for the Stars though, all of those teams are pretty terrible.

-Anaheim Ducks 6, Colorado Avalanche 4

Saturday, March 15th

-Phoenix Coyotes 3, Calgary Flames 2

-Anaheim Ducks 2, Los Angeles Kings 1: Ugh, part two. Again, this game went probably exactly how you would have predicted: the Kings out-possessed the PDucksO by a staggering amount (63% of all shot attempts, 60% of unblocked attempts, 62.1% of 5v5 shot attempts, 58% of unblocked 5v5 attempts) and lost anyway off a fluky goal that went off Jake Muzzin's backside (and may have cost him his spot in the lineup tonight, just to rub a little extra salt in our wounds). But wait, here's an extra twist for you: a total screwjob! The Kings, trailing 2-1 late in the 3rd, appeared to tie the game off a Kopitar shot, but the goal was waived off due to Marian Gaborik colliding with Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen. This despite all evidence that Gaborik was both trying to stop AND pushed into the goalie by Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg. Yep. I mean, obviously the Kings shouldn't have left it to that point and blah blah blah, but when this is coming in the same season as That Thing in Detroit, can you blame us for being a wee bit upset about it? At the very least, it illustrated why the NHL desperately needs to add goalie interference calls to the list of things that are reviewable. It's insane to think that the ref, who is mostly supposed to be paying attention to whether or not the puck actually crossed the line, can always make the perfect call on whether or not there was contact, whether or not that contact came before or after the puck actually crossed the line, AND whether or not the player who made contact with the goalie was pushed in, all in real time as it happens. Sure, the other referee can help to a degree, but do you know what would really help? Making it reviewable! Ugh, anyway. So the Kings lost their second (fluke) in a row, making them 8-2-0 in their last 10. Let's all panic. (recap) (gamethread)

Sunday, March 16th

-Vancouver Canucks 4, Florida Panthers 3 (SO): noooooo Luongo noooooooooo

-Edmonton Oilers 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1

-San Jose Sharks 1, New York Rangers 0: Because I haven't done enough whining in this post yet: hey, NHL, how in god's name is this not visual proof that a puck was in the net? Where is it, if not in the net? Did it fall in a black hole? And don't give me that "they have to prove there's no part of the puck touching the goal line" crap, because the puck clearly ends up behind the post and thus making it impossible for it to touch even a sliver of the goal line. Whatever, sometimes the NHL is really, really terrible at their jobs, and we got a heavy dose of that twice in less than a 24-hour span. At least they managed to bring the east and west coasts together, uniting us all under the basis of "hey, we were totally screwed out of a hockey game", so that's nice.

This Week in Standings

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away Last Week
1. Anaheim 68 45 16 7 97 43 218 172 +46 24-6-4 21-10-3 2-2-0
2. San Jose 69 45 17 7 97 35 214 165 +49 25-4-4 20-13-3 4-0-0
3. Los Angeles 68 38 24 6 82 32 165 144 +21 19-12-3 19-12-3 1-2-0
4. Phoenix 68 32 25 11 75 27 188 193 -5 20-11-3 12-14-8 3-1-0
5. Vancouver 70 31 29 10 72 26 167 190 -23 16-11-6 15-18-4 2-2-0
6. Calgary 68 27 34 7 61 22 165 202 -37 15-16-3 12-18-4 2-2-0
7. Edmonton 69 24 36 9 57 21 171 224 -53 12-16-3 12-20-6 2-1-1

In Operation Let's Avoid Playing the Sharks in the 1st Round news, the Sharks went a perfect 4-0-0 on the week to move from 4 points back to a tie with the Ducks (who went 2-2-0, getting only 50% of their available points for the second straight week). However, Anaheim remains in the top spot on the basis of their game in hand, and also has a huge edge in ROWs over San Jose as well, meaning the Sharks will need to finish at least 1 point ahead of them to win the division. Meanwhile, the Kings went a dismal 1-2-0 while the Coyotes had a great 3-1-0 week, allowing them to pull back to within 7 points back for the third Pacific seed (they trailed by 11 last week). Tonight's game obviously means quite a lot now, as a win by the Coyotes moves them to 5 points back and a maybe-a-shot-in-hell at catching us, while a Kings win would put the gap back to 9 and probably make us bulletproof down the stretch (especially considering LA's own huge ROW edge on the Desert Dogs).

Now let's take a look at the Wild Card standings. Remember, top 2 get in, the rest are forced to become Toronto Maple Leaf fans.

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away Last Week
1. Minnesota (C) 67 35 22 10 80 28 164 164 E 23-7-5 12-15-5 1-0-2
2. Dallas (C) 67 32 24 11 75 29 193 192 +1 18-10-7 14-14-4 1-1-1
3. Phoenix (P) 68 32 25 11 75 27 188 193 -5 20-11-3 12-14-8 3-1-0
4. Vancouver (P) 70 31 29 10 72 26 167 190 -23 16-11-6 15-18-4 2-2-0
5. Winnipeg (C) 69 31 29 9 71 25 193 201 -8 16-14-6 15-15-3 1-1-2
6. Nashville (C) 68 29 29 10 68 28 164 201 -37 15-17-4 14-12-6 3-1-0
7. Calgary (P) 68 27 34 7 61 22 165 202 -37 15-16-3 12-18-4 2-2-0
8. Edmonton (P) 69 24 36 9 57 21 171 224 -53 12-16-3 12-20-6 2-1-1

There was absolutely no movement in the Wild Card standings this week, although Phoenix did manage to move back into a tie with Dallas for the second Wild Card spot. Dallas managed to go 1-1-1 in the midst of what was obviously a very difficult week for them, while Phoenix had their second straight good week, following up last week's 2-1-0 with a 3-1-0 mark. However, Dallas does have a game in hand on the Coyotes (the suspended Columbus game, which I imagine would actually start 1-0 Columbus if it is eventually resumed, so that might not help them much), as well as the ROW tiebreaker advantage. I still like the Stars to hold on here, but it's pretty clearly a two-team race at this point. Below the Coyotes, the Canucks sit 3 points back, having went 2-2-0 on the week, but both their wins came in a shootout which obviously didn't help their ROW column any. They've now fallen behind both the Yotes and the Stars in that category, and on top of that have played 2 more games than Phoenix and 3 more than Dallas. So that 3-point gap is actually even a little bit worse than it might first appear, is I guess what I'm trying to say here.

Winnipeg had a decent 1-1-2 week of their own, sitting 4 points back, but with all the same problems Vancouver has: everyone else (well, except Vancouver) has games-in-hand on them and the ROW tiebreaker too. The three teams below Winnipeg are all basically done so who cares about them (although hey, in this week's edition of "only the Oilers", Edmonton saw their goal differential get worse even in a week where they had a winning record, because lol of course they did).

This Week in #fancystats

(all stats are total attempts, not percentages. thanks to extra skater. also, as an experiment I'm going to now list the best & worst Corsi for the opponents, so you can see who contributed- positively and negatively- to their effort as well, because why not?)

Kings 3, Flames 2
: Kings 51-Flames 49 (overall), Kings 47-Flames 44 (5v5, 50.1 mins), Flames 7-Kings 5 (5v5 close, 8.0 mins), Flames 6-Kings 2 (5v5 tied, 4.1 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 35-Flames 32 (overall), Kings 32-Flames 29 (5v5, 50.1 mins), Kings 4-Flames 4 (5v5 close, 8.0 mins), Flames 3-Kings 1 (5v5 tied, 4.1 mins)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Muzzin (+14), Doughty (+11), Pearson (+9). Worst: Regehr (-8), Voynov (-7), Carter (-6)
CGY Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Giordano (+13), Brodie (+9), Backlund (+6). Worst: Wotherspoon/Knight (tied, -9), Smid/Russell (tied, -8)

Maple Leafs 3, Kings 2
Corsi: Kings 83-Maple Leafs 43 (overall), Kings 65-Maple Leafs 32 (5v5, 47.4 mins), Kings 45-Maple Leafs 25 (5v5 close, 32.4 mins), Kings 31-Maple Leafs 7 (5v5 tied, 17.6 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 67-Maple Leafs 37 (overall), Kings 50-Maple Leafs 27 (5v5, 47.4 mins), Kings 39-Maple Leafs 22 (5v5 close, 32.4 mins), Kings 25-Maple Leafs 6 (5v5 tied, 17.6 mins)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Williams (+20), Kopitar (+17), Gaborik (+15). Worst: King (+1), Brown/Lewis/Nolan (tied, +2)
TOR Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Bodie (+2), Gardiner (+1), Rielly (-2). Worst: Phaneuf (-23), Kadri (-21), Gunnarsson (-20)

Ducks 2, Kings 1
Corsi: Kings 68-Ducks 40 (overall), Kings 54-Ducks 33 (5v5, 45.4 mins), Kings 39-Ducks 25 (5v5 close, 28.6 mins), Kings 18-Ducks 9 (5v5 tied, 9.8 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 51-Ducks 34 (overall), Kings 40-Ducks 29 (5v5, 45.4 mins), Kings 29-Ducks 22 (5v5 close, 28.6 mins), Kings 11-Ducks 9 (5v5 tied, 9.8 mins)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Mitchell (+15), Martinez/Pearson (tied, +13). Worst: Nolan (-5), Clifford (-3), Regehr/Lewis (tied, +2)
ANA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Jackman (+2), Beleskey (even), Silfverberg/Perreault (tied, -1). Worst: Lovejoy (-12), Cogliano/Winnik/Fistric (tied, -10)

Next Week in the Pacific

(this is exactly what it sounds like: the next week's schedule for all 7 Pacific Division teams. all times are pacific because, um, duh.)

Team 3/17 3/18 3/19 3/20 3/21 3/22 3/23
LA vs.PHX (7:30) - - vs.WSH (7:30) - vs.FLA (1:00) -
ANA - vs.WSH (7:00) - @SJ (7:30) - - vs.FLA (5:00)
SJ - vs.FLA (7:30) - vs.ANA (7:30) - vs.WSH (7:30) -
PHX @LA (7:30) - - vs.FLA (7:00) - vs.BOS (6:00) -
VAN @TB (4:30) - vs.NSH (7:00) - - - vs.BUF (5:00)
CGY - vs.BUF (6:00) - - vs.NSH (6:00) @EDM (7:00) -
EDM - vs.NSH (6:30) - vs.BUF (6:30) - vs.CGY (7:00) -

The Kings have had an awful start to their 5-game homestand, winless (and pointless) on it so far, but they still have 3 more chances to turn that around. It begins tonight when they host a sure-to-be-desperate Coyotes team, an also-probably-desperate-but-pretty-terrible Capitals team, and finally the just-plain-bad-but-now-featuring-Luongo Panthers on Saturday. Obviously tonight's game is just a tad bit more important than those other two, standings-wise.

Meanwhile, the Ducks will host the Capitals as well tomorrow before heading up to San Jose for the Main Event of the week's schedule: Ducks-Sharks, with (maybe) 1st place in the Pacific on the line (gooooo Sharks and ewww I had to type that). They wrap their week up with those same Florida Panthers on Sunday.

San Jose has the Panthers tomorrow, the Ducks on Thursday, and then the Capitals on Saturday. The Coyotes are in Los Angeles tonight in what they probably consider a must-win game for themselves, before hosting the Panthers on Thursday and the Boston Bruins on Saturday. The Canucks wrap up their Eastern Conference road trip in Tampa tonight, then head home for 2 games against the Predators and Sabres (wow, seriously? real tough schedule there). And, as always, the Flames and Oilers will play some hockey games. No one cares.

That's all for this week. A huge thanks to everyone who participated in our crowdsourcing of Vancouver's misery, because some of them were hilarious. See you next time!