Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Los Angeles Kings have been and currently are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. They currently have the 2nd best record in the Western Conference but they’ll more than likely finish 1st. But as previous Stanley Cup runs have shows, their place in the standings doesn’t matter. After beating the Blackhawks and the Stars soundly by a combined score of 10-2 this past week, it’s hard to not picture them hoisting another Stanley Cup. The Kings have a few things going for them that make them the favorites.

Riding a hot goalie. No team rides a hot goalie better than the Kings. In turn, there’s not better goalie to ride then Jonathan Quick. You look up clutch in the NHL dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Quick. He’s basically like Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur in their primes. Corey Crawford can sometimes be ridden and Braden Holtby will be the next guy but, for now, Quick is the guy you want.

Blending old faces into new places. The Kings have had a lot of success of picking up old discarded veterans and plugging them in and watching them return to form. They did it with Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter and now to a lesser extent they are doing it with Vincent Lecavalier. Lecavalier didn’t play much for the Flyers recently and had just one point in seven games for them. But as a King he’s had 1 5points in 32 games. Not too shabby. He also just recently played in his 1200th game.

Clutch performances. The Kings Stanley Cup runs always featured clutch, come from behind performances. They were generally provided by Justin Williams. Williams has since left but he didn’t take all the clutch with him. Against the Rangers, the Kings were down 3-1 in the third period but scored one goal and then managed to get another goal with about five minutes left by Anze Kopitar. Kopitar used his magic, again, with a beautiful screen tip off a face-off for the game winner in overtime. And the whole time, you just new the Kings would come back and win.

Things I like

1. Devante Smith-Pelly was a guy who I thought could have used some more playing time in Anaheim. They chose to move him to Montreal, who in turn, chose to move him to New Jersey. He has nine points in seven games for the Devils so far. It’s unlikely he will keep up that production but he’s a great complimentary player to have. Not everyone can or needs to be an All-Star. He’s a restricted free agent after this season so it’ll be interesting to see what offers he receives. It’ll be even more interesting of an off season for the Devils with only four forwards under contact for next season.

Things I don’t

1. It’s hard to imagine the Blackhawks losing four in a row let alone two in a row by a combined score of 10-2, to the Stars and Kings, but that’s what happened. Not really sure why they weren’t motivate to play the two best teams in the West. But all teams, even good ones, go through slumps. In the Blackhawks case it’s good that they do it before the playoffs hit. The bad part is they will more than likely face both the Stars and the Kings in the playoffs and they haven’t played all that great against them so far. Personally, I think this Blackhawks team is better than the last two Blackhawks teams to win the Stanley Cup. But it seems unlikely the will win it back to back. There’s a reason no team has done it since 1998.

2. A year after being injured towards the end of the season, Tyler Seguin is once again injured towards the end of the season. A blow to the Stars and the NHL. It sucks when great players in their prime miss playing time, especially after a fluky skate cut. This might impact the Stars chances of winning the division. Seguin expects to be back for the starts of the playoffs.

3. Due to the Oilers recent sucking but not sucking when it comes to lottery luck, some NHL GM’s what to change the draft lottery rule. The change would see the team who won the lottery, without having the worst record, to be ineligible to win it the next five years. Here’s the problem, it’s no longer a lottery then so why have it all? The point of a lottery is that anyone can win it but the odds are stacked against you. The odds are already weighted towards the team to with the worst record to have the most chances to win. If a team with only a 5% chance manages to win it anyway, well that’s the luck of the draw. I mean just do away with it then and have the team with the worst record automatically get it. If you’re worried about tanking in that scenario, in the proposed scenario the team that was ineligible would be motivated to tank so that they could be eligible again. So either way, tanking could be likely. Although in the later case, only one team would have motivation to tank. If it were up to me I would change nothing. The odds of another Oiler like run is pretty slim.

Fights of the Week

Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.

Ryan Callahan vs Antoine Roussel

Best fight of the week even though it was short.

Adam McQuaid vs Dwight King

A decent fight between two big boys even though McQuaid did most of the punching.

Goat of the Week

Andrej Sustr – Tampa Bay Lightning

Hard to see in the clip but Sustr gets pressures and instead of going up the boards decides to go through the crowded middle. Jamie Benn says thank you very much.

Stat Line of the Week

3/14/16 Nashville 3 vs. Edmonton 2

Skater

TOI

G

A

+/-

SOG

Bks

J. Neal

17:07

3

0

3

4

1

“All-Star” James Neal was a one man scoring machine as he single-handily beat the Oilers Monday night. It was his 6th career hat trick and it fueled a much needed win for the Predators, who are now seemingly entrenched in the 1st wild card slot at the worst. This is the 4th time in his career Neal has had at least 27 goals. Three of the times he ended the season at 27 and the other time he had his career high with 40.

Connor McDavid Calder Watch

McDavid has a four game point streak going. Racking up five points in four games to move into 5th place in NHL rookie scoring. Just a few more spots and he’ll get a nomination at the very least.

Numbers, Numbers

3 – Shorthanded goals by the Senators against the Canadiens on Saturday Night, that’s not good for anyone
12 – Point differential between Patrick Kane and Jamie Benn for most NHL points, it’s not even close
74 – Points for Sidney Crosby, who somehow went from like 70th to 3rd in a couple of months
.931 – SV% for Brian Elliott who somehow never gets any respect in the NHL, he’ll get benched in favor of Jake Allen come playoff time again
9 – NHL players in the 30 goal club so far this season, with about 11 more having a great shot at it

Rankings

The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.

Top 5
1. Los Angeles
2. Pittsburgh
3. San Jose
4. St. Louis
5. Philadelphia

Bottom 5
30. Vancouver
29. Carolina
28. Winnipeg
27. Montreal
26. New Jersey

Alex Mueller

Author: Alex Mueller

Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.

NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 23 – Kings are the team to beat, Devante Smith-Pelly rising, Blackhawks fallinghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/kings-lecavalier-1024x576.jpghttp://hockeyrecaps.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/kings-lecavalier-300x300.jpgAlex MuellerWeekly RecapsAdam McQuaid,Antoine Roussel,Anze Kopitar,Braden Holtby,Brian Elliott,Connor McDavid,Corey Crawford,Dwight King,Jake Allen,Jamie Benn,Jeff Carter,Jonathan Quick,Los Angeles Kings,Marian Gaborik,Martin Brodeur,Patrick Kane,Patrick Roy,Recap,Ryan Callahan,Sidney Crosby,Stanley Cup,Tampa Bay Lightning,Tyler Seguin
Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Los Angeles Kings have been and currently are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. They currently have the 2nd best record in the Western Conference but they'll more than likely finish 1st. But as previous Stanley Cup runs have shows, their...