The Los Angeles Kings lost to the Edmonton Oilers, 4-2, on Tuesday, losing for the fourth time in six games. As a result, the Kings’ playoff chances are on life support.
Los Angeles (39-26-15) closes the regular season with games at Calgary (44-29-7) on April 9 and against San Jose (39-32-9) on April 11. The Kings must win both games – and get some help – to reach the postseason.
“Very slim hopes,” NBC Sports NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Calgary, who ended up wining tonight, is two points up on L.A. L.A.’s next game is against Calgary. Now, if L.A. happens to beat Calgary next game, they’re going to be tied, and if they finish tied in the season, Calgary wins the tie-break (because it won the) season series. So the only way the Kings really can get into it is if the Kings win out against Calgary and San Jose and then Calgary loses out in the final two games. But that’s going to be tough (given) the way the Calgary Flames have played all year.”
Calgary has won four of its last five games, while the Kings have gone 10-8-3 since winning eight straight in February. Los Angeles is 1-3 against Calgary this season, with all three losses coming by one goal, including two in overtime.
Staying in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild (45-27-8) clinched a playoff berth with a 2-1 road win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker scored third-period goals for the Wild, who are 17-6-1 in their last 24 games.
Minnesota opened April with three straight home losses to the Rangers, Red Wings and Jets, but seemed to get back on track Tuesday. Minnesota has now won 11 straight road games.
“I see them being one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs,” Roenick said. “Because when you have a team that feels as confident as they are playing on the road and you have a goaltender who has not only resurrected his career, but pretty much saved the franchise – (Devan) Dubnyk has been absolutely incredible.”
Dubnyk, 28, has started 38 games in a row, during which he has allowed 1.73 goals per game.
“It’s amazing what he has done coming in,” Roenick said. “And they’re getting healthy. They got Jason Zucker (collarbone) back, who played very well tonight. Mikael Granlund scored a goal against (Corey Crawford), who looks very strong. They’re a tough team.”
Indeed, head coach Mike Yeo and the Wild have navigated injuries and a tough schedule with dexterity and aplomb. Zach Parise leads the team in points (61) and goals (32), while Jason Pominville is tops in assists (36).
“They have been very, very well-coached since January,” Roenick said. “They feel that they can beat anybody – and right now, they’re beating a lot of teams.”
The Wild close the regular season with road games against Nashville (47-23-10) on April 9 and St. Louis (49-24-7) on April 11.