There are still parts of their game the
But the most important fix has been made, and that's to their approach to this season.
Unlike last season, when they meandered along and were shocked when they failed to grab a playoff spot, they're taking care of business early and often. They were assured of a 12-point lead atop the
"Usually Anaheim's run away with it by now, so we're trying to make sure," Kings Coach
Building a big lead is a novel and less nerve-wracking way to do things for a team that sneaked into the 2012 playoffs as the eighth seed before winning the
"It just means guys are playing the right way," said left wing
Being ahead of the pack means they can correct things like the lull they had in the second period Saturday without fear it could keep them out of the playoffs. "I think maybe parts of the past couple games and then tonight we weren't as sharp as we need to be," defenseman
The 4-0 trip they completed last week against division foes Arizona, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary helped boost their confidence and their lead. And although the Flyers aren't a division or conference rival, the Kings on Saturday played as if Philadelphia were blocking their path to the playoffs. They've outscored opponents, 20-7, during this streak; goaltender
"I think if you look at the top of the league, the teams that are at the top in goals-against are playing lots and don't have much dip in their game and he's certainly been that," Sutter said of Quick. "He knew since Christmas he was going to play every game for us."
Quick's teammates gave him early support Saturday.
Drew Doughty made it 2-0 at 17:16 of the first period on a one-timer from the left circle during a power play. Neuvirth made a fine glove save on Anze Kopitar in the final minute of the second period to prevent the Kings from expanding their lead, which proved important when former King
Quick stopped Philadelphia's other 15 shots in the third period to ensure a victory for the Kings, who were without injured center
The Kings had needed scoring from the left side, too, and King has provided that since his return. He said his teammates "played pretty well" during his absence. "It's a long season and they've progressed throughout it," King said. "Their record is good. Everybody is kind of bonding with each other, linemates getting used to each other, things like that. I think they were playing really good hockey before I came back."
They're playing well enough to have a substantial division lead and equally big chance of becoming the playoff team Sutter wants them to be.