Kings should break out in second half
L.A. should see improvement when offense returns, and the Kings aren't alone
What goes up, must come down. That's the lesson we explored last week in relation to several teams that seemingly overachieved in the first half of the season. Now it's time to look on the bright side and examine several teams on the rise in the second half, including one that figures to break the 100-point barrier after a slow start out of the gate.
Los Angeles Kings
First half: 47 points Projected second half: 55 points
Surge: 8 points
Like many of the teams on this list, the Kings' underwhelming first half cost their head coach his job. However, thanks to Terry Murray's (and now Darryl Sutter's) focus on defense, along with Jonathan Quick's Vezina-worthy season so far, L.A. has had no problems in its own end of the ice.
The Kings just haven't been able to score goals. They fired 1,008 shots in all even-strength situations in the first half and managed just 57 goals (5.7 shooting percentage). So even with Quick's heroics and the fact that they outshot their opponents by more than 100 shots at even strength, L.A. was actually under water in terms of goal differential (-9) through 41 games.
To read why the Kings are primed for a breakout and which other teams are in line for a surge, sign up for ESPN Insider today. Plus, get access to NHL draft coverage, Craig Custance's blog and all Insider has to offer.