The Los Angeles Kings got off to a pretty rough start this season. Their old offensive struggles from the regular season last year returned, and they looked like they were destined to become that rare team that misses the playoffs the year after winning a championship.
It’s safe to say that coming in on two months into the season, whatever concerns over a Stanley Cup hangover that were present no longer exist. The Kings are looking like legitimate contenders again and could end up being a terrifying team to face in the postseason.
Their top guys are playing like top guys again. Anze Kopitar is averaging a point per game and playing terrific two-way hockey, as always. Jeff Carter is among the league leaders in goals, with 18 on the year already. Mike Richards has picked his game up after a slow start. On the blue line, Slava Voynov is having the breakout year many expected him, as is Jake Muzzin, who is having an excellent year offensively. Drew Doughty is still playing well, even if he’s not scoring.
The x-factor moving forward is going to be the play of Jonathan Quick. He hasn’t been quite as good as he was last season, but has shown flashes of that type of play at points during the season. If he can return to a level anywhere near the one he was at last season, this team is going to be that much more difficult to beat this spring.
The Kings have an offense that ranks just outside the top five in the league in goals per game, and a defense that ranks in the top ten. Their goal differential is third best in the Western Conference. It’s pretty clear that this team has returned to form, and are looking more like the team from last year’s postseason every night.