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GAME DAY: Canucks vs Kings

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Games against the Kings have been utter and absolute gong shows. This one will likely be no exception, but win or lose today, is it really going to matter? The Canucks should be able to make it, but are the Kings really the lock everyone claims they are?

Harry How/Getty Images

Time 1:00 PM PST
TV Sportsnet Pacific
H2H Last 5
3-0 Kings
Last Meeting
4-0 Canucks Mar 12/15
The Enemy Jewels From The Crown coring Leaders H. Sedin: 15-46-61
Carter 25-28-53

Canucks
CATEGORY
Kings
40-26-4 SEASON RECORD 34-22-14
84 Points 82
2nd Division Position 4th
Lost 1
Streak OT 1
2.79 (12)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.66 (18)
2.70 (20)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.40 (6)
17.1 (21) Power Play % 18.8 (12)
85.7 (3) Penalty Kill % 81.7 (12)
47.3 (28) Faceoff Win % 51.3 (12)
11.1 PIM / GP 9.5
48.9 (22) Corsi For % 53.8 (2)
100.5 (13) PDO 99.8 (19)

I can't say what's worse: the way the Canucks have flat out rolled over for the Kings these past couple years, or the diligent efforts of the hockey media to carry the Kings' water? I get that they're the defending champs, and that over the past few years they've played some great hockey. This season however, they're not the same team, but you'd hardly know it by the out of market media coverage they receive. This team is only in the race because of their Western Conference leading 14 Bettman points. Yet each win is met with fawning articles, gushing 'Here Come The Kings', marveling that they're 'doing it again', heaping fanboy-ish praise on the grumpy old man routine from Darryl Sutter, and even giving their GM time and space to tell the harrowing tale of their 'perseverance' this season. The adversity the Kings have faced this year is of their own making, and nothing else.

It's as clear a picture as you can get why there needs to be change in the way points are awarded in the NHL. The Canucks have won 40, and lost 30. The Kings? 34 wins, 36 losses. Yet there they sit, 2 points behind, repeated failures to win still rewarded in Gary Bettman's artificial parity happy fun hockey land. When the Canucks lose this game, they'll drop below the Kings in the standings. Sad, isn't it? And despite the fact this Canucks squad really isn't supposed to be here, in this retooling season, having played just a handful of games with their top 6 D intact, without their #1 goalie (stuff your goaltending controversies, I am sick to death of it), they're looking like they can grind their way in. And their reward for overcoming a hell of a lot more adversity than the Kings might very well be having to face them in the playoffs.

Look, I get that if they can't beat the Kings, they don't deserve to move forward. And if I had an answer as to why they can't, when they were able to notch wins against the other squads from hockey's Axis Of Evil, I'd offer it up. The fact remains: the Kings are where they are because of the system that rewards failure. We have seen a few teams with really awful stats sneak into the post-season over the past couple years, last year's best example being the Colorado Avalanche. Every thing the stats told us said there's no way in hell this team should make the playoffs, yet they defied the odds and made their way in. They were 3rd in the NHL, yet bowed out in the first round, as many predicted, losing to the #7 seed Minnesota Wild. Whenever a team displays poor metrics yet still wins, many advanced stats fans are quick to point out that Team X won't make it. And nearly every time, they're right. But why is it so many refuse to accept that despite their great Corsi numbers, that the Kings might falter?

In their Big Numbers piece yesterday, Pass It To Bulis took up that torch, pointing out the Kings might just be done in because of the other thing that doesn't get much play from the national media: they're a really crappy road team this season. The three teams behind the Kings in the standings all have more road wins, as do 4 of the 5 non-playoff teams in the East. And after this game today, the Kings are headed out on a 5 game swing where they play New Jersey first, then get the Rangers, Islanders, Wild and Blackhawks. 8 of the Kings' last 12 are on the road, and despite playing better the last while, it may be their downfall.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Hailing from Corpus Christi, Texas, Devastation were a pretty decent thrash act, incorporating some death metal tinges into their sound. Listening to their old stuff, especially their last album 'Idolatry' it holds up really well not just against peers like Sepultura, Malevolent Creation and Demolition Hammer, but doesn't sound terribly dated compared to stuff today.

IMPROMPTU DRINKING GAME RULES

1 drink- If the Canucks score.

1 drink- For every reference to 'heavy hockey'

2 drinks- If Sportsnet tries to push the myth of the Kings and their 'adversity'

2 drinks- When Jordan Nolan fights Derek Dorsett knowing he won't have to face Zack Kassian today

3 drinks- If the Canucks score first

3 drinks- For every 100 twitter references from Kings fans about how awful Canucks fans are/ Sedin bashing

BONUS: Finish your drink- Kings get called for embellishment.