The Kings would have clinched a playoff spot Sunday if the Ducks had done them the favor of beating the Dallas Stars. The Ducks' loss means the Kings can secure a spot on their own Monday, if they defeat the Sharks at San Jose.
The Kings' magic number remains at two: they are in if they get two points or the Stars fail to get two points. The Stars next face Columbus at Dallas on Tuesday.
"Definitely our No. 1 goal coming into the season was making the playoffs. Surpassing what we did last year and getting further and deeper and hopefully winning is all we want. That hasn't changed," center Jarret Stoll said after the Kings practiced Sunday in El Segundo.
"It's been a lot of hard work. It's been a long year. There's been lots of ups and downs. There's been a couple big downs, a couple big ups."
Defenseman Drew Doughty said before the Ducks-Stars game that the Kings have ample incentive to play hard in their final games and improve their seeding.
"With these four games remaining we definitely want to win every single one of them, just because I think it's good to go on a roll into the playoffs and have that confidence as a team," Doughty said.
The Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Assn. nominated defenseman Willie Mitchell for the Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Mitchell lost much of last season to a concussion but returned to be a steadying force for the Kings.
"It's not easy to do and when you're going through it you wonder if you're going to get a chance to do it again," he said. "I'm just fortunate and thankful I'm in the situation I am now, where I get to play the game I love to play."
Right wing Justin Williams skated Sunday for the first time since dislocating his right shoulder two weeks ago. He wore a harness but did some shooting and stickhandling. He is scheduled to test the shoulder's strength this week. "This is a good step today in the right direction," he said.
Coach Terry Murray, who had been critical of Dustin Penner's work ethic, said he saw more intensity Saturday from the lumbering left wing. Penner has gone eight games without a point and nine without a goal. "The No. 1 thing you have to do as a player is bring work every day. Everything else will fall in place after that," Murray said.