After playing their 41st game of the season on January 5 against Phoenix, the second half of the 2011-12 regular season officially kicked off for the Los Angeles Kings just two days later when Los Angeles was shut out by the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. Surely, the Kings did not get off on the right foot and for the following weeks, there was enough concern going around that the thought of the Kings missing the playoffs was a very real possibility.
Before February 27, the Kings were playing .500 hockey, which, in a conference as competitive as the West, simply is not good enough. To their credit, however, Los Angeles kept their heads above water even if they weren’t playing to the best of their abilities on most nights.
The silver-and-black did eventually find some sort of spark and after a season-high six-game winning streak, were gradually finding their way out of the woods. However, with the race in the Pacific division as tight as it was down the stretch, the Kings could have been on either side of the spectrum – either winning the division and finishing 3rd in the West or missing the playoffs altogether, which would have likely resulted in a few off-season changes.
Nonetheless, the Kings preserved and made the playoffs. They may not have won the division but after the season they’ve had, I’m sure they’ll take it. The old adage of “just get in” applies to this team and they’re ready to start the second (and most important) season.
Looking at a 20-13-8 second-half record on paper, it doesn’t appear that the Los Angeles Kings dominated. Of course, when has anything ever been won on paper?