They were old. They were slow. The Kings had their fun in the sun and now it was time to think about trading the veterans and rebuilding. That was the prevailing sentiment prior to the season from many NHL experts. No one was laying money NHL betting dollars on L.A. And now? The sky appears to be the limit.
2018 NHL Kings Playoff Advice
So what happened, exactly? Well, the first things is that head coach John Stevens was underestimated. He has done a masterful job in getting the Kings to play more uptempo, something very different from the Darryl Sutter days.
Next, team leader Anze Kopitar went from a 12-goal season to a Hart Trophy candidate. How in the world did that happen? The talent was always there, to be sure. However he got there, Kopitar has arguably been the best two-way forward in the league all season long. The re-emergency of Dustin Brown as an offensive player has also helped. Everyone and their mom figured that Brown would be released or end up in the press box. Yet Brown has been able to reach 50 points for the first time in many years. These two players have led the way for the Kings.
Los Angeles is currently 22 to 1 to win the Stanley Cup. Those aren’t great NHL odds as compared to other teams. But with Jeff Carter back, a guy who missed most of the season and who has a championship pedigree, the Kings may not be a bad underdog pick.
Early NHL playoff predictions
I’m not ready to start picking round by round. But I am ready to tell you a few things to expect during this NHL postseason. Take these things to the bank:
-The Philadelphia Flyers will not win more than one game in the playoffs. Once again, goaltending will be their downfall. It’s been average at best all season, with no one ready to really take the reigns.
-Evander Kane will continue to score for the Sharks. The late-season acquisition has been fantastic for San Jose. Seeing as he’s never been a part of even one playoff victory, I’d say he’ll be motivated.
-Pekka Rinne will be sensational again for the Predators. He flipped a switch at playoff time last season and brought his team to the final. I don’t see anything changing in his game this time around.
-The Golden Knights will not be overwhelmed. Despite having never played a postseason game in franchise history, Vegas has several veterans and they should continue to be a solid team in the playoffs.