Los Angeles Kings with the Most to Prove as 2013-14 NHL Regular Season Ends
The Kings have had a number of remarkable performances from players this season and from the team as a whole. If the Kings allow four goals or fewer in their final two games, they will set a franchise record for goals against in a season.
That said, a few stars have failed to live up to expectations this year for the Kings. This is a look at which players have the most to prove as the season wraps up.
Mike Richards has had one of the most disappointing seasons of his career.
He's spent most of the season on the second line and is averaging 2:50 minutes per game on the power play. But, in 80 games, he's racked up just 11 goals and 31 assists for 41 points.
He has been particularly cold of late and has failed to generate any offense. As a result, the 29-year-old has found himself on the fourth line in recent weeks.
Richards has won it all at every level, and he's rarely—if ever—been demoted to this position. He has to prove he can still be a dynamic force up front and also be a leader as the Kings enter the postseason.
The second the puck drops in Game 1 against the Sharks, look for him to be a completely different player.
Slava Voynov has had a solid season, but he hasn’t played to his full potential, especially on offense.
The 24-year-old defenseman has shown he’s capable of carrying the puck up the ice with ease and weaving through the defense. His vision and strong shot were on full display in last year’s playoffs, but have not been a major part of his game this season.
He benefits from having Drew Doughty as a teammate, as he isn’t assigned the tough matchups or given the responsibilities he would on many other NHL teams. Therefore, expectations should be a little higher for the Russian.
He has honed his skills in the defensive zone, so now Voynov must prove he can still impact the game offensively.
Dustin Brown got off to a slow start this season because of a hamstring injury he suffered in training camp. He eventually returned to playing the role of the physical, two-way forward, but offensively he struggled. He has notched 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 77 games this season.
While his play has improved in recent weeks, Brown must show he can produce consistently.
The captain was a point-per-game player in the playoffs in 2011-12 when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup. If he can contribute at a similar pace in these playoffs, it would greatly improve their chances of returning to the conference final.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.