Vancouver or San Jose?
That’s the question facing the Kings after 82 games, the two brands of poison awaiting in the first round for a team that will finish either seventh or eighth in the Western Conference. Here are the scenarios following a season-ending, 3-1 loss to the Ducks:
If the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings today, the Kings are the eighth seed and play Vancouver.
If Chicago loses in overtime or a shootout, the Kings are the eighth seed and play Vancouver.
If Chicago loses in regulation, the Kings have the seventh seed and play San Jose.
The Kings went 2-2-0 against the Canucks – 1-1 at home, 1-1 on the road, winning the first two and losing the last two. They went 3-3-0 against the Sharks –1-2 on the road, 2-1 at home, and getting both home wins via shootouts.
Not that Terry Murray is crunching numbers just yet.
“I’m not watching the scoreboard right now,” the coach said. “It’s just disappointing we did not have the handle to take control of our own destiny the last couple games.”
The team expects to have its playoff schedule sometime after 7 p.m. tomorrow.
A few notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions.
The Kings’ 44 shots on goal were a season high, and their 19 in the second period marked the best for a single period this season. That only added to the frustration against Ducks goalie Dan Ellis, it seemed. “Territorially in the second period we put up 20 shots, we had a great opportunity there to build off that momentum and I thought we followed through in the third period,” Murray said. “Right now we have to find a way to put the puck in the net. When you have that many opportunities and you’re not scoring you start gripping the stick a little too hard.”
Dustin Penner had a team-high seven shots on goal, one of which–a failed wraparound attempt in the second period — resulted in Ellis’ best save of the game.
Kyle Clifford wound up with quite the gash on his left cheek after taking a hard right from Sheldon Brookbank during this third-period melee. Brad Richardson fought Teemu Selanne (not a typo) during the same 5-on-5 brawl; Kevin Westgarth and fellow Princeton alum George Parros fought for the second straight game in the first period.
Dustin Brown: 6 hits, $300 for Children’s Hospital L.A.
The Kings announced their end-of-season award winners: Anze Kopitar collected the Billy Libby Memorial Award as MVP, best defensive player, and the most popular player as voted by the Kings Booster Club. Willie Mitchell was named the Mark Bavis Memorial Award winner for Best Newcomer. Drew Doughty was named outstanding defenseman. Dustin Brown won the community service award, as selected by the Kings Care Foundation. Matt Greene won both awards voted on by the players — the Ace Bailey Memorial Award as most inspirational player, and the Unsung Hero award.
The Kings averaged 18,083 this season, the highest average attendance in club history.
The 46 wins matched the franchise record (also in 1990-91 and 2009-10), but their 97 points were eight shy of the record 105 set in 1974-75 (a season that saw 21 ties).
The Kings’ 25 home wins were one shy of the club record (26 in 1990-91 and 2005-06).