The Kings proved home-ice advantage didn’t matter in the 2012 playoffs, going from the No. 8 seed to the Stanley Cup. They didn’t have home-ice advantage in any of the four playoff rounds and still rolled through the postseason. It was a remarkable feat, one that never happened before last spring. They were the first No. 8 team to win the Cup.
However, the Kings’ shootout loss Tuesday to the Sharks in San Jose should be a reminder why it’s important to lock up fourth place and home-ice advantage in the first round. It’s especially so if they play the Sharks in the opening round. The Sharks’ victory over the Kings gave them a league-leading 15-1-5 mark at HP Pavilion. San Jose is a lackluster 8-12-2 away from home, only the 21st-best mark going into Wednesday’s action around the NHL. The Kings are 16-4-1 at home (third in the league) and 8-10-4 (16th) on the road.
So, doing the math, home-ice advantage still appears to matter. It’s why the Kings shouldn’t consider any of their final five regular-season games, including Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Staples Center, was anything but vital contests. They should approach each of their final five games as must-win, with the goal of grabbing home-ice advantage for what looms as a first-round grudge match with the Sharks.