The Los Angeles Kings did not expect to be the first team out of the playoffs, and they certainly did not expect to be swept by the NHL’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights. While the Kings did struggle throughout the regular season, after clinching a playoff berth at the last minute, the team continued to stress that their focus was on being successful and competitive in the playoffs.
However, in a quick four game series, the Kings found themselves starting their summer much earlier than anticipated, and while losing is never fun, having former King Brayden McNabb score the game winning goal to end the King’s season only deepened the wound. Now the Kings will have the summer to regroup and recharge as they prepare for October. Here are three takeaways from this Pacific Division first round matchup.
Lack of scoring
The Kings’ lack of offense was one of their biggest problems throughout the series. The Kings, who only scored three goals throughout the entire series, showed that they were severely lacking in the offensive department. It is incredibly hard to wins games when you cannot score goals, and the Kings were also shut out twice, which further emphasized their inability to score. It is nearly impossible to win a series by only scoring three goals, and honestly, the Kings were simply not good enough on the offensive end to be fully competitive in the series.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick was by far the best player on the ice for the Kings throughout the entire series, and he deserved a better showing from the rest of his team. He made the games look a lot closer than they were and only allowed seven goals throughout the four-game series. Quick had an impressive .947 save percentage and a 1.55 goals-against average (GAA). He kept the Kings in the game each night, and perhaps, the most disappointing part might just be the fact that Quick put up a career performance, while the rest of the team could not support him.
Looking at the offseason
While they were unsuccessful in their campaign for the Stanley Cup, it is important to acknowledge that the Kings did defy expectations by making it to the postseason. That being said, it was a rather disappointing showing, and the feelings that come with losing in the fashion that they did will not dissipate easily.
However, now that the offseason is approaching, the Kings will have to focus on improving the team and getting ready for next season. The Kings have a much older team compared to the rest of the league, so they might bring in some younger players to help refresh their offense. The offseason will also be important for the Kings to deal with their free agents, especially regarding the future of defenseman Drew Doughty. As the Kings move forward from this season, it will be interesting to see what they do in the offseason to prepare for next season.