Well, it certainly will be easy to determine the cause of the Kings' demise, if they happen to miss the playoffs.
One stat will just about say it all: 3-15.
That would be their combined record in overtime and shootouts this season. Their latest shortcoming in that department came at a most inopportune time as the Canucks defeated the Kings, 2-1, on Monday in the shootout.
"I don't know what's going on this year," said Kings center Anze Kopitar. "We haven't been very good, obviously. That doesn't matter right now. We've just got to make sure we go into Edmonton tomorrow and make sure we get the two points."
Big picture: Vancouver's come-from-behind victory put the second-place Canucks four points in front of the Kings in the Pacific Division. With three games remaining, the Kings are out of a playoff spot, one point behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild-card spot.
"That's obviously what has hurt us in the standings this year," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "Our four-on-four and shootout play. We got one point out of it. It could be big for us in the end.
"We need to win tomorrow's game — it's a must-must win."
That's what it has come down to at this juncture. Not just must wins but must-must wins. The Kings play at Edmonton on Tuesday night and at Calgary on Thursday. Although they are tied with the third-place Flames with 93 points, Calgary happens to hold the first tiebreaker.
The Kings were about 10 minutes away from a one-goal victory, two more points in the standings and one more game away from making the playoffs. But the Sedin twins worked a little bit of their on-ice magic and Daniel Sedin tied it, 1-1, at 9:54 of the third period.
"It was a tough loss," said Doughty. "It was a game we needed to win."
The Kings' playoff hopes landed on the critical list with the shootout loss to the Canucks, and they have won just 13 of 37 one-goal games this season. Forward Chris Higgins clinched it for the Canucks in the third round as he outwaited Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and beat him up high with a backhander.
"We definitely had chances in the second," Kopitar said. "And in the third, to make it a two-goal game, and we just didn't do it. And it came back to bite us."
The game turned after the Kings completed some heavy lifting, another textbook penalty kill. Vancouver went 0 for three on the power play, and the Kings had just killed off a holding penalty to defenseman Matt Greene. But the Canucks scored 20 seconds after the penalty expired.
Call it that vaunted twin telepathy between the Sedins. Henrik's 700th career NHL assist was a slick, knowing pass as he went deep behind the Kings' net and flicked a no-look backhander to Daniel, who beat Quick with a shot from the middle of the circle.
It took the Canucks that long to break through against Quick, who has been firmly fixed in playoff mode the last little while and hit MVP mode in this game. The Kings had been holding a 1-0 lead, via Dwight King's goal just 1:13 into the game.
"It was a good play by them," Doughty said. "It sucks. We should have gained some momentum from those penalty kills. We kind of took it to them, but I think some guys were a little tired because they scored right after that penalty kill was over.
"So a little bit of chaos. But it was a nice play by them."
KINGS VS. OILERS
When: 6:30 p.m. PDT.
Where: Rexall Place.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket. Radio: 790
ETC: Edmonton goalie Richard Bachman, who left the team after a death in his family last week, has rejoined the Oilers. Todd Nelson, the Oilers' coach, told reporters on Monday that he is leaning toward starting Bachman against the Kings. Historically, Bachman, who started his NHL career in Dallas, has performed well against the Kings.
Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa