Kings secured their spot in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Los Angeles Kings secured their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season by winning four out of their last five games.

LOS ANGELES– The Los Angeles Kings, who are currently on a playoff run, hosted the Calgary Flames. The Kings aim to recover from their recent 3-1 loss to Anaheim on Tuesday. The Ducks held off the Kings celebration for a few days as they defeated the Flames, 4-1, to clinch their third straight postseason run.

Adrian Kempe is currently leading the Kings’ scoring with 71 points, out of which 44 are assists and 27 are goals. Kevin Fiala is not far behind with 70 points, 43 of which came from assists and the remaining 27 from goals. Anze Kopitar also has 68 points to his name, with 42 assists and 26 goals. During the Kings’ power play in the first period, Fiala scored the game’s first goal, assisted by Kopitar.

The Los Angeles Kings are currently ranked third in the Pacific Division with a record of 42-26. They won against the Flames, marking their second victory against them at Crypto.com arena this season. However, they lost the other two games played on the road. Despite the Flames having nothing to play for, the Kings had a strong start. They took a commanding 3-0 lead in the second period, which later scored another and allowed Calgary to get on the scoreboard. One of the standout players for the Kings is a hometown kid from Thousand Oaks, Trevor Moore, who is having a remarkable season. He scored his 30th goal in this game, which is a significant improvement from his 10 goals last season.

Viktor Arvidsson scored the second goal of the night, followed by Akil Thomas a few minutes later. Thomas achieved his third career NHL goal in his fifth game and became the fifth different skater in the history of Kings to score at least three goals within the first five games of his career. Brian Boyle was the last player to do so in 2008. Thomas mostly played in AHL this season, but the Kings’ second-round pick from 2018 has made an immediate impact since his NHL debut 10 days ago. He may have played his way into a postseason role. Arvidsson hit his second goal which he hit from the other side of the hockey rink to an empty net.

“That was our goal starting training camp, so one step at a time, and I think we did a good job in the regular season to get to this point,” said Viktor Arvidsson after the game.

The Kings controlled the game since the start and never looked back, heading into the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The Flames managed to score a goal in the middle of the third period, with Jonathan Huberdeau deflecting a shot from Daniil Miromanov. This narrowed the gap to two goals as the Kings approached the last ten minutes of the game. Cam Talbot made 23 saves, while Anze Kopitar contributed two assists as the Kings began a four-game homestand to conclude the regular season under interim coach Jim Hiller.

The Kings won tonight’s game, which has helped them reach a total of 95 points in the standings. Even if St. Louis manages to win all their remains games of the regular season, they can only achieve a maximum of 95 points. Since the Kings hold the first tiebreaker over the Blues, they secured a spot in the postseason. Currently, the Kings are three points ahead of Vegas in the Pacific Division standings, although Vegas and LA have the same amount of wins so far.

Kopitar shared his thoughts on clinching the playoffs and whether seeding matters heading into the postseason.

“You wanna be feeling good heading into the playoffs. Going in as an eight seed, going in as a two or three seed, or whatever it was, going in feeling good at the right time and put a streak together,” said Kopitar during his locker room media availability.

Kopitar discussed the impact Thomas has had on the team in recent games, noting his spark and fit.

“Fit in really well, obviously, put up some goals too which was great to see. He’s playing hard for us that’s what it is. He gets the job done essentially which this time of the year is what we need.” said Kopitar after the game.

Jim Hiller, the interim head coach, discussed what his team needs to improve upon in preparation for the upcoming playoffs, during a recent press conference.

“The next three games for me are still part of a playoff race. I don’t see us trying to adjust to much, we might add a couple of things to our game a little bit in preparation for the playoffs.” said Hiller.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs for 2024 are set to begin on Saturday, April 20. This date represents the earliest possible opportunity for the Kings to participate in the postseason. The regular season will conclude for LA on Thursday, April 18, with a home game against Chicago.