The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most important players earlier this week when Dustin Brown was hit with a two-game suspension. That short ban came after Brown threw his elbow into the head of Jason Pominville. That suspension, while appearing short, could have major playoff implications.
The defending champion Kings had already clinched a playoff spot at that point. So it wasn’t as if Brown was going to cost them a playoff spot. But there is still the issue of playoff seeding to be determined. And the Kings’ quest to grab home ice advantage in the first round took a serious hit with this suspension.
Los Angeles already lost their first game without Brown in the lineup. The Detroit Red Wings beat them 3-1 on Wednesday night. The Kings will next hit the ice on Saturday night, against the division rival San Jose Sharks. As of right now, the two are tied in points, with the Kings holding the tiebreaker with one game to play.
Also in the mix are the St. Louis Blues. Assuming the Blues can win on Thursday night, they’ll actually have a one point edge over both teams with one game left. Which means that the Kings could end up in the fifth or sixth spot, potentially more likely than they could end up in the fourth spot.
Having Brown out of the lineup makes their quest to get home ice that much more difficult. They’ll need a Blues loss and a win over the Sharks on Saturday to clinch it. No Brown, who is their second leading goal-scorer, makes that an extremely difficult task to complete. And given the fact that the Kings have dropped six straight on the road, that home ice would be crucial.
Brown’s elbow may have made life very difficult for the Kings not only in these last two games, but in the first round of the postseason as well.