Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 4/7/12

On the strength of their Vezina-contending goaltender and an improving offense, the Los Angeles Kings hope to make some noise this spring.

How exactly does one explain the 2011-12 Kings?

They were involved in one of the two Flyers blockbuster trades last summer when they sent a package of players to Philadelphia for Mike Richards. Conventional thinking was that Richards, who was the Flyers' captain, would bring his usual 25-30 goals and 65-75 points to a team that was already loaded with talent.
Conservative expectations were that, with Richards added to the fold, the Kings would push the Sharks for the Pacific Division title and certainly be a top team in the Western Conference.
Fast forward to Game 82. One player involved in the Richards trade has 28 goals this season -- it just happens to be Wayne Simmonds. Richards heads into the season's final game with 17 markers and 43 points in an injury-shortened 73 games.
Richards wasn't alone in the struggling department for the Kings earlier this year. At the All-Star Break, only three Kings had scored more than nine goals and Los Angeles was dead last in the NHL in scoring. Indeed, the only reason they were in the playoff conversation was Jonathan Quick.
A trade deadline move to put Richards back together with the other exiled Flyers forward from last summer, Jeff Carter, has paid off and the Kings have been one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference. They've been so good that they enter the final game of their year ranked 29th in the NHL in scoring, now boasting a 2.30 goals per game average as a team.
But now Carter has a foot issue. The Kings are 3-2-2 in their last seven, and are limping into a finale that will determine if they're a division winner on Sunday or packing bags for St. Louis or Vancouver.
The one constant all season for the Kings has been Quick, who should take the Vezina hardware home this year. Even with the offense being average at best, the Kings have been as good as any on the back end and their 2.06 team goals-against average is second in the league.
Try to mitigate a .929 save percentage and 1.93 goals-against average with a 35-21-12 record. It's impossible. Quick's numbers are too good for that many losses, but that's the nature of the beast in L.A. this year.
And it will remain the million-dollar question as the playoffs begin.
Whether the Kings are the three, seven or eight seed in the west will only determine their opponent. The bigger question for Los Angeles starting April 11 is if they can score enough goals each night to move past the first round.

Photo credit: Getty Images
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jim Ross’ wife Jan dies from injuries due to Vespa crash

Report: Larry Brown to meet with LIU Brooklyn about coaching job

Report: Jay Cutler garnering 'zero' interest around NFL

Paul Millsap to opt out of contract, become free agent

Martellus Bennett calls out NFL to do more to build up communities

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NBA disciplines Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez for fighting

Jason Day tearfully withdraws from PGA event to be with ailing mother

Matt Barnes on Derek Fisher chants: ‘I’m sick of that s—’

Brent Musburger admits he once bet on a game he broadcasted

Jeff Hornacek: Knicks will run triangle ‘exclusively’ next season

Reese Witherspoon to speak to women’s gathering at NFL owners meetings

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Box Score 3/21: WBC semis are bat-flipping fun

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

NBA Western Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

MLB players most likely to break out in 2017

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Eat, Drink, Watch: A weekend of March Madness and more

The 'Who will ruin your glorious bracket this year?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker