Although it’s possible the Kings could go ker-plunk and miss the Stanley Cup playoffs entirely, it’s about as likely as aliens arriving in El Segundo to kidnap Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. The Kings will clinch a playoff berth soon enough and they’re likely to be the third-place team in the Pacific Division. And that means they will play the second-place club. At the moment, as of Sunday morning, that would be the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks would have home-ice advantage, however.
It’s also possible the Ducks could fall to second and face the Kings, a matchup that would have sports editors in town scrambling to learn the difference between the red line and the goal line. (“Wait, aren’t they both red?”) But the Ducks have the numbers stacked in their favor, including the first tiebreaker against the Sharks. They also had two games in hand, as of Sunday. The Ducks have eight games left and the Sharks have six, including one at the Honda Center on April 9.
The Kings have seven games remaining, including their regular-season finale against the Ducks at the Staples Center on April 12. Four of the games are on the road, including one against the Sharks at the SAP Center on Thursday. It’s not an easy schedule, but it’s not all that taxing, either. So, look for the Kings to clinch third place later this week and for the inevitable matchup with the Sharks to be cemented next week. Crazy stuff could happen between now and the end of the regular season, but everything points to another Kings-Sharks showdown.