This is from an email I received from the Kings marketing gang regarding tonight's game against Phoenix. I love my Kings but comparing them to cockroaches? COME ON! Let me say that I've pretty much squashed these roaches and am expecting a full refund of my playoff ticket purchase....
"So you're saying there's a chance...."--Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber
For all of those that were so quick to bury the Kings playoff aspirations, don't be so trigger-happy. With three games left, the Kings aren't dead yet. Los Angeles will attempt to keep their slim playoff hopes alive tonight, heading down into the Valley of the Sun to take on the Phoenix Coyotes at Glendale Arena. The Coyotes have a slight edge in the season series between the two teams, winning four of the seven games.
The Kings have developed cockroach-like survival skills over the past few weeks, continuing to linger in the conference playoff race despite predictions of their demise. Teetering on the edge of elimination, Los Angeles would need to win all three of its remaining games and receive help from both Edmonton and Vancouver to qualify for the post-season.
Unfortunately for L.A. fans, the Kings staying power has been more in spite of their recent play than anything else. Los Angeles currently finds itself in the midst of a three-game losing streak, their second such streak in the last two weeks. In fact, over the past seven games, L.A. has been outscored 21-7. Offensively, the Kings have provided one of the bigger California droughts in recent memory. In the 19 games since the Olympic break, L.A. produced more than three goals only twice, averaging 2.05 goals per game over that span.
On a grander scale, tonight will mark the beginning of the Luc Robitaille Farewell Tour. On Tuesday, the greatest goal-scorer in Kings history announced his retirement, effective at the end of this season. Fortunately for the Kings, Robitaille has seen his share of success against Phoenix this season, collecting four goals and an assist in seven games against Wayne Gretzky's crew. Forward Derek Armstrong has also done a bit of damage to the Coyotes this season, tallying three goals and four assists while Joe Corvo and Craig Conroy have picked up six points apiece.
On the defensive end, L.A. will have to keep tabs on Phoenix's leading scorer Shane Doan, who has accumulated two goals and five assists versus the Kings this season. However, as well as Doan has done, L.A.'s biggest nemesis has been defenseman Paul Mara. The Coyotes left-handed blue-liner has torched the Kings for four goals and five assists while providing steady defense for Phoenix. For Phoenix, tonight's game may be a step towards finishing the season at .500, as the Coyotes have no chance at a playoff berth. Phoenix (36-38-5) is riding a losing streak of its own, dropping its last five consecutive games.