What They've Done
The Los Angeles Kings closed out the season with a shootout loss to Anaheim, their fifth loss in the past seven games.
Their inclusion on this list is a nod to their having won 14 of their previous 17 contests. When that fuller length of time is considered, the Kings are one of the league's hottest teams.
Since the Olympic break the Kings have shut out their opponents four times and held four other foes to a single goal. On their end, they haven't been shut out since losing to Philadelphia, 2-0, on February 1.
How They Did It
The Kings are known for their defensively committed, physical, possession-based play, and not for their consistent ability to score.
But the team is moving in the right direction on that second front. After being held pointless in his first three games as a King, trade-deadline acquisition Marian Gaborik has 16 points in 16 games. That should take some scoring pressure off of Anze Kopitar, who nevertheless has 12 goals and 11 assists since the Olympic break.
Will It Continue?
No team wants to lose the Los Angeles lottery and play the Kings in the first round. Any victory is bound to be a Pyrrhic one where the exhausted winner makes their playoff exit the very next round.
The Kings are one of the most physical teams in the league. They have, however, been vulnerable in short stretches this year, and that's all it will take to end their season. In addition to this past cold stretch, they had three separate five-game losing streaks prior to the Olympic break.
On the other hand, if the Kings get hot they become nearly unstoppable, much as they were in 2012. Never underestimate this team, the perennial Western Conference dark horse.