LA Kings Must Solve San Jose Forecheck If They Expect To Win Game 5

LA Kings center Vincent Lecavalier
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On the eve Game 5 of their best-of-seven first round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings, who trail the Sharks in the series, 3-1, opted for video sessions to review their game plan and off-ice workouts, aside from a handful of players who chose to skate.

“We went over some special teams from [Game 4 on April 20 in San Jose], checked on some injuries, and guys got a little workout upstairs,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “The guys who wanted to go on [the ice, went] on.”

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LA Kings Have Lots To Fix In Short Amount of Time Before Game 3 vs. San Jose

LA Kings forward Marian Gaborik
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — That the Los Angeles Kings are off to a dreadful start to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs is not just surprising, but you could say that it is also understating the situation.

Sure, one could argue that they overcame greater odds in 2014 when they came all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit against the San Jose Sharks to win their first round playoff series, 4-3.

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Anaheim Ducks Could Be Just What The Doctor Ordered For LA Kings

LA Kings left wing Milan Lucic
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — If the first thing you’re thinking of with the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings facing off at Staples Center tonight (7:30 PM PDT) is whatever rivalry that might exist between the two teams, well, you’d better think again.

Indeed, the two teams have 99 points in the Pacific Division standings. The Kings have two games remaining before the playoffs begin, and the Ducks have three. Although the Ducks have an edge with a game in hand, if the Kings beat the Ducks in regulation and win their game against the Winnipeg Jets on April 9, they would win the division even if the Ducks were to win their final two games because the Kings would win the tiebreaker with more regulation and overtime wins.

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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Is Finishing Very, Very Fast After A Slow Start

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Although one could easily make a case for Drew Doughty or Jonathan Quick as the biggest reason that the Los Angeles Kings have been one of the very best teams in the Western Conference this season, center Anze Kopitar can put in his own claim as well after putting the team on his back, especially in the last 42 games.

In his first 33 games (through Christmas), Kopitar scored nine goals and tallied eleven assists for twenty points, with a +10 plus/minus rating. But since that time, he has scored 15 goals and has contributed 32 assists for 47 points, with a +21 plus/minus rating.

If you do the math, Kopitar has almost tripled his assists (compared to the first 33 games), and has nearly doubled his points per game average to 1.14 since Christmas (0.61 through the first 33 games).

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Vincent Lecavalier Fitting In Better Than Expected With LA Kings

LA Kings center Vincent Lecavalier
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When the Los Angeles Kings acquired veteran center Vincent Lecavalier, no one expected him to do much more than provide some solid bottom six minutes, and perhaps most notably, win some key face-offs.

But in 34 games with the Kings since they acquired him on January 6 from the Philadelphia Flyers, along with defenseman Luke Schenn, in exchange for center prospect Jordan Weal and a third round pick in the 2016 National Hockey League Draft, Lecavalier has exceeded most expectations with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points, with a +6 plus/minus rating and a 52.4 percent face-off winning percentage.

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