For about an hour Thursday night, the Los Angeles Kings had slipped into ninth place in the Western Conference.
When the ice scrapings had finally settled after their stomach-churning 1-0 shootout win over the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues at Staples Center, they had leapt all the way into the number three seeding by virtue of their sixth straight win since a 4-3 loss in Detroit on March 9 that had dropped the club to 11th place in the conference.
In two weeks, the Kings have jumped eight spots in the standings and appear to be peaking at the appropriate time.
They did it Thursday against a club that while not a mirror image of itself still offers many similar characteristics. The forechecking, hard-hitting, defense-first Blues also rely upon an All-Star goaltender in Brian Elliott as part of a platoon with Jaroslav Halak.
Jonathan Quick, whose 35 saves and eighth shutout of the season represented perhaps the strongest case he has made for the Vezina Trophy, commended his counterp...