Kings Get Closer to Locking Up Playoff Spot

We are now officially in the final week of the 2017-18 NHL season and there are still three playoff spots up for grabs in the Western Conference. It has been a long time since the league has seen such an intense playoff battle. There is rarely more than one spot available at this point in the season. The final week of the season is even more interesting because the teams in playoff contention are seemingly playing each other every night. One of those games took place last night when the Los Angeles Kings hosted the Colorado Avalanche at Staples Center.

Both teams knew there was a lot on the line on Monday night, and it may have altered their play. Everyone on the ice looked tentative and a little nervous at the start of the first period. The sloppy start prevented both teams from generating a lot of scoring chances. The Kings were finally able to break through with the first goal of the game when Torrey Mitchell scored after nine minutes of play. Dustin Brown added a shorthanded goal three minutes later to give Los Angeles a two-goal lead.

After only a total of 12 shots were put on net in the first period, both teams increased their offense pressure in the second period. A tripping penalty by Torrey Mitchell gave the Avalanche a great scoring opportunity early in the period. Alexander Kerfoot scored his 19th goal of the season on the power play to get Colorado within one goal. The Kings had their chance to reciprocate after a Nathan MacKinnon tripping penalty a few minutes later, but they were unable to score on their first power play of the game.

Los Angeles came out of the locker room after the second intermission ready to play. They dominated the early minutes of the third period, and their excellent play was eventually rewarded with a goal by Kyle Clifford. The Avalanche had several excellent scoring chances, but they were all denied by Jonathon Quick to give Los Angeles the 3-1 victory.

The Kings have seen their playoff chances drastically change throughout the season, but they are now in great position to make their first postseason appearance since 2016. They only need one point over their final two games to lock up a spot. Los Angeles will get a chance to secure their playoff berth when they face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, April 5.



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