LA Kings thinking about the franchise’s first division championship since 1990-91

The Kings last won a division championship in 1991.

That’s also the only Kings division title.

Winning in 2016 would be a pride thing for the Kings.

It also would be a seeding thing.

The top finisher in the division receives no worse than the No. 2 seeded spot for the Stanley Cup playoffs next month. As it stood Friday morning, it meant home-ice advantage for the first-place Kings for the first two rounds of the playoffs and a first-round matchup with the Nashville Predators.

The second-place Ducks and third-place Sharks would face off in the opening round.

“We’re trying to be a playoff team,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter has said again and again.

He’s used that to answer questions ranging from the team’s power play to El Nino.

Or so it’s seemed.

Others have offered deeper insight into what it means to finish first.

“You play all season long for that home-ice advantage,” left wing Milan Lucic said after Wednesday’s overtime victory over the Washington Capitals returned the Kings to first place. “That’s what the season is all about, finishing as high as you can in your division and in your conference.”

Home-ice advantage meant nothing to the Kings during their run to the 2014 Stanley Cup championship. They won a winner-take-all Game 7 three times, each on the road, before dispatching the New York Rangers in five games with home-ice advantage in the Final.

Two years earlier, the Kings became the first team to advance from the eighth-seeded position to Stanley Cup champions. They didn’t have the home-ice edge for any of the four rounds of the playoff tournament, defeating the New Jersey Devils in six games.

“We want to get home ice,” Kings forward Jeff Carter said of the push for first in the Pacific. “We’ve seen the last few times we’ve been in the playoffs how big Game 7s are. When you have it in your home rink, it’s a big advantage.”