FanSided’s Around the NHL in 30 Days takes a trip to Hollywood to check on the LA Kings. The awesome writers at the Rink Royalty blog are pumped up for this season and are even saying that their Kings can challenge the Sharks for the division title. Does that seem crazy? Well at first my homer heart said “Heck yeah it does!”, but the more I think about it… maybe those writers are on to something. I mean the Kings have definitely upgraded their lineup with all-stars like Mike Richards and Simone Gagne… then you have Anze Kopitar coming back from injury (he wasn’t present in the Sharks-Kings playoff series last year). Throw in the two Jonathons in net, and you have a great team next year. The only problem facing this franchise right now is the still unsigned Drew Doughty.
Here’s a preview of what lead writer Gavin Humes has to say about his Kings:
A strong performance in the regular season should see them battling with the Sharks for the top of the Pacific, and they are likely to be in the hunt for home-ice advantage for the first time in a very long time. I’ve said it before, but once the playoffs start, it’s up for grabs, and with strong play in net, offensive contributions from the blue line and consistent, responsible production up front, this could be a season for Kings fans to remember heading forward.
Let’s take a look at how the Sharks and Kings matched up last year:
6 Regular Season Games: 3 Sharks wins, 3 losses
The Sharks and Kings beat each other up last year in 6 games. Most of the games were hotly contested, as evidence by the 3 games decided by just 1 goal. The Sharks won by scores of 6-1, 6-3, and 1-0. The Kings won by scores of 4-0, 4-3, and 3-2. Two of the Kings wins came in a shootout.
We all know what happened in the first round of the playoffs last year: Joe Thornton eliminated the Kings in overtime of Game 6. That series was a lot closer than I would have liked to see. If the Kings could have tightened up defensively then that series could have turned out differently. No doubt that both the Sharks and the Kings learned from this tumultuous playoff series and will be better improved for this year.
I think the Pacific Division will ultimately be claimed by the Sharks this year, but not without a good fight put up by the Kings.
Next up in FanSided’s Around the NHL in 30 Days are the Minnesota Wild.
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