The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks clinched their respective playoff berths on Wednesday night.
The Kings landed in the post-season after the St. Louis Blues dropped a game to the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Ducks found themselves in the playoffs with a win over the Minnesota Wild.
The Kings sit with a 44-28-8 record and are three points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. Los Angeles has made the post-season just once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2013-2014 and that was in 2015-2016 when they exited early in the first round.
The Kings have two games to go: they face the Wild on Thursday and finish up Saturday with a home game against the Dallas Stars.
“We still look at these games as important for two ways,” head coach John Stevens said. “One, we want to get as high as we can, and two, we want our team game in order. We’re not 65-0 right now and in a position to start resting guys. I think we’re focusing on each game just like we have all along. We need to get our team game in order, and these points are important for us.”
The Ducks took the win over the Wild by a final score of 3-1 and will see the playoffs for their sixth consecutive season.
Anaheim had to sit several injured regular players in the game, including goalie John Gibson. He’s out with an upper body injury but should be fine for the playoffs.
Defenceman Cam Fowler is also out with a shoulder injury and will miss two to six weeks of action. That’s not good news for the team’s playoff chances.
Anaheim did see their Pacific Division title-winning streak come to an end thanks to the Vegas Golden Knights, who took home the prize in storybook fashion.
The Ducks are currently 42-25-13 on the season and moved one point ahead of the Kings and one point behind the San Jose Sharks with the victory.
“We needed to raise our emotional level in the third period,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “We had an opportunity to win 20 minutes of hockey to get ourselves qualified for the playoffs. [We] went out and played with a lot more emotion and determination, (and) got the job done.”