The final push is on for many teams throughout the NHL.
That push might be to get into the playoffs, get home-ice advantage or finish as a division winner. The Los Angeles Kings are currently in a battle to get home-ice advantage, and that battle is a heated one.
The West is very tight, and if the Kings want to remain in a position to open up the playoffs at home or continue strong play into the playoffs, they are going to need some key players to get hot.
This is the single biggest player the Kings need to get hot. No question.
Quick has had a rather pedestrian, and at times struggle-filled 2013 season. His 13-11-3 record isn't spectacular, his 2.49 goals against average is sub-par and his .898 save percentage is no where close to where it should be.
The Kings need him to get closer to the level he played in during last year's tremendous campaign. If he doesn't, there is going to be a lot of pressure put on the King's offense and perhaps backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier to get some key wins.
Up until three games ago, Drew Doughty had just a single goal in 37 games. Is that really the number you want from the puck-moving cornerstone defenseman of your franchise?
Obviously not. However, Doughty has improved in a number of defensive aspects of the game, and despite a horrible start in the plus-minus department, he has been a better D-zone defenseman compared to previous seasons.
They need him to get hot offensively though. The team's power play has been quarterbacked quite effectively by young guns Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin, however, that is going to be a role Doughty takes over come playoff time.
He had a fantastic 2012 home stretch and postseason. You can bet that everyone, Drew Doughty included, is hoping for a similar run of form come May and June.
When the chips were down in 2012, captain Dustin Brown truly led by example. His play down the stretch and in the playoffs was a major reason why the Kings made the postseason and won the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
It's time once again for the New York native to get going. The 2013 season has been pretty consistent for Brown, who would be on pace for his exact same point totals of 2011-12 with 56 points if we were playing an 82-game season.
What the team needs is the point-per-game pace he put up during the playoffs. Along with the scoring, Brown was a physically imposing force that punished his opponents on a nightly basis. If it wasn't the goals it was the hits, and if it wasn't the hits it was the goals.
Brown easily could have been the Conn Smythe winner of 2012 had his teammate Quick not been so dominant. If they want a deep run again this year, their captain is going to have to come through once more.