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Hockey Daily Dose

No More Kings

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Los Angeles became the second team to be eliminated from the 2016 playoffs last night.  For San Jose, it's a symbol for how far the franchise has come since suffering a reverse sweep at the hands of the Kings back in 2014.

 

San Jose's story ultimately isn't done yet though, so the more immediate tale is that of the Kings.  In a way this takes away a bit of the mystique about them as from 2011-12 through 2013-14, the only franchise capable of matching them in the playoffs was the equally fierce Chicago Blackhawks.  Even the Kings missing the playoffs last season was something that could be overlooked to an extent as fatigue could have been a factor in 2014-15 after playing in 11 postseason series over the previous three campaigns and their 95 points was equal to their showing in 2011-12 when they won the Stanley Cup.  That latter point also played to another belief: The Kings might be beatable in the regular season, but they had another level in the playoffs.

 

This year that clearly wasn't the case and you have to wonder if the Kings' time has passed for now.  A lot of their core from the 2014 Stanley Cup championship is still there, but Justin Williams, who had 25 points in that playoff run, is gone, Marian Gaborik (22 points in the 2014 playoffs) has struggled both on the ice and just to stay healthy, and Slava Voynov (23:08 minutes per game) obviously isn't playing hockey in North America anymore.  Meanwhile Anze Kopitar will turn 29 in August while Jeff Carter will celebrate his 32nd birthday in January and while that's not old, in a league where 20-somethings tend to thrive, their age might start to become an issue.

 

At the same time the Kings still have Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick as franchise cornerstones and 23-year-old Tyler Toffoli is coming off of a 31-goal campaign, so maybe the Kings can rebound in a big way next year.

 

For now though, let's take a closer look at last night's action:

 

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FLYERS 2 CAPITALS 0 (Washington leads 3-2)

 

This is an odd one as Philadelphia set a new franchise-low for a playoff or regular season game by only recording 11 shots on goal.  So how did Washington lose this one?  They ran into a hot Michal Neuvirth, who turned aside all 44 shots he faced.  That gives Neuvirth a 0.50 GAA and .987 save percentage in two starts in the 2016 postseason.

 

To make this game even more unusual, it was Ryan White that netted the game-winning goal for Philadelphia.  In 248 career regular season games, White has only been credited with 22 goals.  This was his second career playoff marker in 15 contests.

 

Alex Ovechkin led Washington in terms of shots on goal with eight.  So far he has three goals on 23 shots in this series.

 

Capitals blueliner John Carlson was on the ice for both of Philadelphia's goals.  He has three goals and six points in five playoff games, but he also owns a minus-three rating in this series.

 

Chris VandeVelde scored the Flyers' other goal, but it was an empty-netter.  It was his first point in five 2016 playoff games.

 

ISLANDERS 2 PANTHERS 1 (2OT) (Islanders lead 3-2)

 

Florida has now lost each of its last six playoff overtime games.  The Islanders also took Game 3 in extra time.

 

Alan Quine found the back of the net in the second overtime period.  It was the 23-year-old's first career playoff goal.

 

Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy led both teams in ice time with 38:54 minutes.  He finished with two shots on goal, five blocks, and a hit.

 

Aleksander Barkov scored the Panthers' lone goal.  He has two goals and three points in the first round series.

 

Thomas Hickey assisted on both of the Islanders' markers.  That gives him three points in five playoff contests.

 

WILD 5 STARS 4 (OT) (Dallas leads 3-2)

 

Mikko Koivu was the hero Friday night for Minnesota has he scored the game-tying goal with just 3:09 minutes remaining in regulation time.  Just 4:55 minutes into the overtime period, Koivu struck again to keep the Wild's season alive.

 

Antti Niemi ended up turning aside 19 of 24 shots in this one.  He made his series debut in Game 4 and saved 28 of 30 shots in that contest.  The Stars have resisted the notion that they have a clear cut number one starter, so it will be interesting to see if they go back to Kari Lehtonen for Game 6.

 

Jamie Benn found the back of the net for the Stars.  He's recorded at least one point in each game this series, which in total has amounted to three goals and four assists in four contests.

 

Minnesota's Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist.  He had been held off the scoresheet in the series' first four games.

 

Wild defenseman Ryan Suter also broke ended his series-long drought by registering two assists.

 

Jason Spezza scored a goal for the stars.  He has three goals and five points in five playoff contests.

 

SHARKS 6 KINGS 3 (San Jose wins series 4-1)

 

This one was tied through 40 minutes, but the Sharks dominated the third period and Joonas Donskoi set that trend early with his goal at 3:58 of that frame.  It was Donskoi's second goal of the game as he had also chipped in the opening tally.  He consequently finished the series with three points in five games.

 

Kings forward Kris Versteeg found the back of the net, giving him two points in the five-game series.  He was acquired on Feb. 28 from Carolina in exchange for Valentin Zykov and a conditional pick and obviously Los Angeles had other things in mind when they got him.  Versteeg is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

 

Vincent Lecavalier had a minus-one rating and logged 13:28 minutes of ice time in what might go down as his final career game.  If he does indeed retire this summer, he'll have finished with 421 goals and 949 points in 1,212 regular season contests.  He also had 26 goals and 56 points in 75 career postseason games.

 

Martin Jones  kicked out 19 of 22 shots and finished the series with a 2.18 GAA and .912 save percentage in five starts.  He's the former understudy of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and while Jones didn't singlehandedly win this series for the Sharks, the battle between the former teammates was certainly an interesting storyline in this series.

 

Logan Couture assisted on three of the Sharks' six goals Friday night.  He finished the series with a goal and six points in five contests.

 

Brent Burns also recorded three assists on Friday.  He has two goals and eight points in five playoff games.

Ryan Dadoun
Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.