It’s been a banner start for the Los Angeles Kings, who are on pace to crack 100 points in a season for the first time since 2015-16.
Todd McLellan’s bunch enter the new year with a 22-13-6 record, sitting third in the Western Conference standings with 50 points.
The Kings stand behind the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars, who have 54 and 52 points apiece, in the league table.
Much of L.A.’s success stems from their 12-6-2 record at Crypto.com Arena, including Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over the Stars.
BetCalifornia.com wanted to know what Kings fans can expect from the team in the new year, as L.A. looks to make it past the first round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade in 2023.
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Both sports wagering bills on the November ballot were soundly defeated. It will be 2024 before sports betting can go back before California voters.
Kings An Early NHL Season Success Story
The Kings’ early season run has caught the eye of oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook, who list the team at +3500 to win their third Stanley Cup championship in 2023.
Much of the team’s success this season can be traced to the play of forwards Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar, and Gabriel Vilardi, who have a combined +6 rating and 84 points.
Fiala has been a one-man offensive machine from the left wing spot, notching a team-high 29 assists in 41 games, while Vilardi has a team-high 16 goals, and Kopitar has 11 of his own.
Another key to the team’s early success has been the play of 30-year-old journeyman goalie Pheonix Copley of North Pole, Alaska, who has a 9-1 record with a .908 save percentage this year.
Copley has won each of his last seven starts, making at least 25 saves in each outing.
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Kings Looking to Do Damage in 2023
A year after getting bounced out by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs in seven games, it seems the Kings are back and ready to do some damage.
It’s been nine years since Los Angeles made it past the first round of the postseason, capturing the franchise’s second title in three years and resetting the bar for professional hockey in Southern California.
It’s been a bleak stretch ever since, though, with three first round exits being the only postseason experience the franchise has tasted since Darryl Sutter’s bunch hoisted the hardware in 2014.
As the Kings approach their home showdown against the league-leading Boston Bruins on Thursday, there’s reason to believe 2023 could be the year hockey fans in L.A. have waited nearly a decade to witness.