Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Kings have won six straight.
With their 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues Wednesday, the Kings are 9-6-3 and third in the West Division. They’re two back on the Blues and a point behind, just two points behind the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights.
So yes, Los Angeles currently possesses the longest current winning streak in the NHL and just tied the Tampa Bay Lightning for the longest this season.
Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou had goals for Los Angeles against St. Louis Wednesday. Kings goalie Calvin Peterson made 35 saves and his team was badly outshot, with Los Angeles only generating 20.
But the Kings have outscored their opponents 22-7 over the course of the streak.
The struggles in Los Angeles have been well-documented, but this year’s model seems to have found an extra gear.
Goalie Jonathan Quick registered a shutout Monday against the Blues, his second goose egg in his past three starts. The 35-year-old is 5-2-2 this season, with a .905 save percentage and a 2.82 goals against average.
36-year-old Dustin Brown has 10 goals this season and a total of 17 points in 18 games. And 33-year-old Anze Kopitar has 21 points in 18 games, including four goals. 36-year-old Jeff Carter has 11 points in 18 games.
Defenceman Drew Doughty is on pace for a career year. He has something to prove and this season is as good a time as any. His tenacity seems to be impacting the team in a big way, as this is a group out to show that they’re still capable of winning and getting in the Cup conversation.
“We’re not surprised one bit,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan. “We’ve chosen those five players to be here for a reason. They have championship characteristics and qualities that they spread throughout the locker room on a daily basis. If I said pride does come into it, I’d might be accused of saying they lacked it in the past and they didn’t. It was just a tough couple of years.”
The Chicago Blackhawks are kind of pulling off the same trick, with Patrick Kane slipping into his old form and Duncan Keith putting on a show.
There are lessons to be learned, one of which has to do with putting players in the right places. Brown’s finding his game again in Los Angeles because his penalty killing minutes have been reduced and because the right role players are doing what they do best.
So maybe there is something to build on in Los Angeles after all, something this season can teach us about finding a spot and getting the job done. These Kings may not challenge for hockey’s ultimate prize. Then again, they just might.