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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LA Kings Are Starting To Look Unstoppable

LA Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After they melted the ice with a 10-4-0 record in December, the Los Angeles Kings cooled off significantly in January and February, earning a 13-10-2 record over those two months—6-5-1 in January and 7-5-1 in February.

Although the Kings weren’t playing badly, their play during those two months was considerably less consistent in those two months, as their play was up and down in all three zones.

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Rob Scuderi: “It Was A Breath Of Fresh Air” To Return To LA Kings

LA Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Before finalizing the trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on February 26 for veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi, in exchange for defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi took the unusual step of speaking with a player prior to trading for him.

“We got permission from Chicago to talk to [Scuderi], and one thing good about it is he knows what [Kings head coach Darryl Sutter] expects, and I talked to him about the team now. The other thing, too, was about moving his family. It was critical that—one of the reasons I think he left was because his wife wanted to be closer to his family. [I told him], ‘I don’t want you coming out here if your wife’s staying back east,’ and she was all excited. And the guy—he commands a lot of respect in that room, and like I said, for giving up what we have to pay him, as well as fitting in, it’s almost like, ‘well, it makes too much sense.’”

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