So assuming it's safe to say that the Coyotes and Kings will be involved in the Western Conference playoff race — and perhaps the hunt for the Pacific Division crown — let's take a look at how they got here.
During the first two months of the season, L.A. was powered by a dynamic first line featuring Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth. When Smyth went down with an injury in mid-November, Kopitar's production significantly dropped. With Smyth back in the lineup, the Kings have to face another significant forward injury as Justin Williams suffered a broken leg on the night of Smyth's return.
Unlike the Coyotes, the Kings have a significant amount of scoring depth spread out, including point-per-game players (Kopitar, Smyth), effective second liners (Dustin Brown, Alex Frolov), and offensive-threat defensemen (Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson). Their true weakness, then, looks to be goaltending. While the Kings tend to give up slightly more shots-against per game than the Coyotes, the difference is really negligible. However, starter Jonathan Quick has far worse stats than Ilya Bryzgalov; in fact, Quick has no shutouts in 30+ starts while Bryzgalov has already notched five.
Things looking bright in Kings Land. Glad to see we're finally getting some recognition for our great play.