Scouting the Playoff Race: Los Angeles Kings

The Vegas Golden Knights are in a fight to escape the final playoff spot with the Los Angeles Kings. How can they gain the upper hand?

Los Angeles Kings v Vegas Golden Knights
Los Angeles Kings v Vegas Golden Knights / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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1. The Case for the Los Angeles Kings

Adrian Kempe, William Karlsson
Los Angeles Kings v Vegas Golden Knights / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

There are few teams that defend well like the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are stingy on the penalty kill (NHL-best 86.5%), making them a special teams force. They're also tough to score on, putting up great defensive efforts in most games. For example, Los Angeles is third in the NHL in average goals allowed (2.60), tied for sixth in team save percentage (.912), and tied for fourth in team shutouts (5).

Goaltender Cam Talbot (2.49 GAA, .916 save percentage in 42 games) has seen a renaissance this season. His crease composure got Los Angeles out of tough times, winning them some games in the process.

For a team that fired their head coach mid-season, the Kings are holding up nicely in the playoff race. They play smart hockey, letting their opponents make mistakes before capitalizing. That's where Los Angeles makes their goals, sitting back and generating pressure on their opponents.