All Three Californian NLH Teams Look Set To Miss The Playoffs
The 2019-20 NHL season’s disappointment looks set to continue for Californian franchises this campaign, with all three looking likely to miss out on the playoffs again. There is still an outside chance that one of them will turn their fortunes around and represent The Golden State on hockey’s biggest stage, although it looks increasingly unlikely.
Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks finished in the bottom three of the Pacific Division, the Western Conference, and occupied three of the bottom five spots in the overall league standings. Only the truly awful Detroit Redwings and the Ottawa Senators finished the COVID-19 hit season with worse records.
Los Angeles Kings Stand Best Chance of Playoffs
The Los Angeles Kings stand the best chance of reaching the NLH Playoffs from all three California teams. However, they are big outsiders to win the Stanley Cup, with the leading NHL sports betting sites pricing a Kings Stanley Cup victory at +8000.
Kings finished with a .450 record last season. This has improved slightly to .519 over the first 27 games of the current campaign, but it still is not good enough. Consistency has been an issue for Kings again this season. Five straight defeats between Game 8-12 were followed by six consecutive victories, for example.
Six overtime defeats have not helped matters. Winning just three of those games in overtime would have seen the Kings trail fourth-placed St. Louis Blues by a mere point. As it is, they are five points behind.
The Kings need center Anze Kopitar to continue in his fine form. Kopitar is lurking just outside the top 10 for points (32), scoring seven goals and assisting 25. The 33-year-old only needs 18 more points to surpass 1,000 career points.
San Jose Sharks Needs To Tighten Their Defense
It is true that goals win you hockey games but not allowing the opposition to score is another major factor. The San Jose Sharks do not have much of a problem scoring, having scored 70 goals in their 26 fixtures so far. Keeping goals out, however, is another story entirely.
Ninety-one goals conceded in 26 games is an average of 2.73 per game. It is slightly better than last season’s average of 3.23 goals conceded per game, but it is still an issue. The porous Sharks have conceded at least four goals in 12 of their completed fixtures during the 2021 season, including leaking six goals and seven goals twice.
Left-winger Evander Kane is the one bright spot on what has been an otherwise disappointing season. Kane has 23 points to his name, courtesy of 11 goals and 12 assists. Only Logan Couture, with 13, has more goals than Kane.
If only the Sharks had more bite about them when it came to defensive duties.
The Anaheim Ducks were the best-placed Californian NHL team last season, even if that was not much of an achievement, in all honesty. It does not look like they will repeat that feat this campaign because they cannot stop losing.
Their 8-15-6 record speaks for itself, as does the -32 goal difference caused by only scoring 63 times yet conceding 95. The Ducks are rooted to the bottom of the Honda West Division and trail San Jose Sharks by three points despite playing three games more.
Nine straight defeats ended with back-to-back overtime wins over Colorado Hurricanes (5-4) and local rivals Los Angeles Kings (6-5), but a string of three defeats followed that saw the Ducks ship 14 goals and score only two in reply.
It is not the best of years for hockey fans in California. At least our NBA teams are faring much better; if you discount the Sacramento Kings, that is!
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