The Los Angeles Kings head into tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks full of vim and vigor, courtesy of a seven-game winning streak. It’s the perfect setup to their first encounter with the defending champions, who enter Staples Center on a two-game slide and sit just 6-5-0 at this point of the season. At 7-3-0, the Kings stand at the top of the Pacific Division standings.
It’s early, and records and standings don’t mean much right now. Nevertheless, seven-game winning streaks are nothing to sneeze at, with the current one the sixth-longest in club history.
What are the keys to the Kings’ current winning streak? There are familiar themes all over the place, including the following seven factors:
Last year, the Kings weren’t just terrible after the first 60 minutes, they were historically bad. They had a mere three wins between the overtime and shootout, three less than the next-lowest team (San Jose) and thirteen less than the club with the most (Anaheim). Since the NHL went to the shootout in 2005-06, nobody fared more poorly in the overtime than L.A. last year — and it wasn’t even close.
The bad taste from last year’s futility is officially washed away. The Kings won twice in the 3×3 overtime during their streak: 2-1 over Minnesota and 4-3 against Nashville.
Per Sportingcharts.com, Corsi is defined as follows:
An advanced statistic in hockey that measures the shot attempt differential of a player while on the ice including shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots for and against. Corsi captures the differential of shots directed towards the net as an indication of the player’s ability to generate chances vs. giving up chances.
Los Angeles started the streak uncharacteristically in the middle of the pack in terms of Corsi, but vaulted to second (55.9%) as of this writing. Seven out of the top eight teams in Corsi For % made the playoffs in 2014-15.
A close cousin of Corsi, Fenwick is defined as follows:
An advanced statistic in hockey that is used as a measure of puck possession while the player is on the ice by taking into consideration the differential between the total number of shots on goal and missed shots for minus the shots on goal and missed shots against while on ice. The thinking is that the more shots on net a player can direct, or is a part of generating, while he is on the ice, the better the player is at possession.
The Kings are a solid 54.5% in Fenwick For %, third in the NHL.
After a slow start in his first three games with L.A. Lucic has caught fire, scoring two goals and dishing out five assists during the seven-game winning streak.
He’s also brought his trademark nastiness to a team that loves to play with physicality.
In many ways, Jeff Carter gets overlooked.
A top-liner on most teams, Carter is the Kings’ second line center behind Anze Kopitar. It’s an important luxury for Los Angeles, one that proven to be a big factor during the winning streak.
He has four goals and five assists in the past seven games, including this game-winning breakaway goal against Nashville:
Who doesn’t love the new 3×3 overtime format? Carter sure seems to.
After breaking out last season with 23 goals, the 2010 second-round draft pick has quickly become the pure sniper the Kings were hoping for when they drafted him. Toffoli is currently tied for the league lead in goals with nine.
Toffoli has been a veritable goal-scoring machine during the winning streak, netting eight goals in the past seven games. The following clip shows his stckhandling wizardry:
It’s been pointed out many times before that although sometimes appearing mortal during the regular season, Jonathan Quick is money in the playoffs. Although both are true, he can flash the glove with the best of them no matter what the situation. Check out this game-saving snag with just seconds left against Edmonton, preserving a 4-3 Kings victory:
During the winning streak, Quick is 6-0, giving up just eight goals in six games. Without question, the biggest reason for the Kings’ seven-game winning streak is number 32.
Walter McLaughlin is a Los Angeles Kings correspondent for The Hockey Writers. He is an avid sports fan, having followed the Kings since living in L.A. in the mid-1970’s, as well as suffering through Seattle sports teams’ general futility. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and has worked in community banking for over 25 years, specializing in SBA loans. He is married and has two daughters.