The Stanley Cup playoffs are just a month away, and teams are getting into position for their playoff run. The Los Angeles Kings are proving to be a team that will make their first-round opponent very nervous with their recent play. The Kings improved to 20-12-3 with a 3-2 win on Sunday night which moved the team just one point away from fourth place in the Western Conference. There aren’t many teams as hot as the Kings right now, and any team around the NHL should remember what this team did last year in the playoffs.
Los Angeles basically tore through the Western Conference as the No. 8 seed and then won the Stanley Cup in six games. The pieces from last season are all still there, too, with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown along with strong goaltending from Jonathan Quick. The Kings aren’t going to win the Pacific Division strictly because their slow start doomed their chances to catch the Anaheim Ducks, but this is a team that has won three of their last four games.
Los Angeles is also scoring a lot of goals right now and has done their winning on the road lately. That spells trouble if the Kings do end up with the fifth seed. It also could mean trouble for the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks, who lost to the Kings at home last Monday night. Chicago has had their struggles lately after their hot start, and if Los Angeles keeps playing like they are now, an upset could happen. There are 13 games left in the regular season for the Kings, and I expect them to win at least eight of those games which would lead to finishing with the fourth seed for the playoffs.