NHL clinching scenarios 2024: What does the Los Angeles Kings' road to the playoffs look like?

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings
NHL clinching scenarios 2024: What does the Los Angeles Kings' road to the playoffs look like?

The Los Angeles Kings were defeated by the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on Monday night. After 74 games, they have a 38-25-11 record with 87 points, which keeps them in the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

However, on Monday, the St. Louis Blues also edged the Edmonton Oilers in overtime to move closer to Los Angeles, which maintains a three-point cushion in the playoff race.

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Meanwhile, Los Angeles is chasing the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Vegas Golden Knights (90 points), who were idle on Monday and failed to close the gap (three points) between the two clubs.

Los Angeles Kings playoff chases

On the cusp of securing a third consecutive playoff spot, the Kings are only 5-5-0 in their past ten games. After a four-game win streak, they have dropped their last three contests to Canadian teams, getting outscored 12-6.

Thankfully, Los Angeles only has one contest (April 6) left against a playoff-bound team, but that happens to be the Vancouver Canucks, one of the top 10 teams in the NHL.

Next, they will face the Seattle Kraken (31-30-13) on Wednesday and then travel to San Jose on the second night of a back-to-back to play the 32nd-ranked team in the league.

As the Western Conference's lowest-seeded team, Moneypuck.com estimates that Los Angeles has a 94.8% chance of making the playoffs, which is higher than their nearest competitor, the Blues, who have a 3.8% chance.

If the postseason started today, the Kings would draw the Dallas Stars (47-19-9), the top team in the Central Division and Western Conference. The Stars beat Los Angeles in all three regular-season meetings, outscoring them 13-3.

Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, the franchise hasn't advanced out of the first round in their four playoff appearances, losing to the Oilers in their past two appearances in 2022 and 2023.

With 87 points, Los Angeles would trail the Tampa Bay Lightning (89 points) in the Eastern Conference wild-card battle but have a larger advantage over the Detroit Red Wings (82 points) for the last slot.

Ultimately, if the Kings overtake the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division, they could face the Oilers for the third straight year. But first, they need to worry about qualifying for the postseason and holding off the Blues, who have a much more demanding schedule in the final eight games.

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Edited by Krutik Jain