Editor's note: To prepare for the playoffs, Craig Custance checked in with a number of NHL coaches, players and scouts to get their take on the pivotal elements of every playoff team.
By now, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter has a good feel for his team, and he suspected that after the Kings officially clinched a playoff spot last week, his team was pretty satisfied. The Kings didn't win again after clinching a spot on Thursday, losing a pair of games to the San Jose Sharks, dropping from first in the Pacific to the No. 8 seed along the way.
It shouldn't be hard to get up for a Vancouver Canucks team that eliminated Los Angeles in six games during the 2010 playoffs, but Sutter will be refocusing his team shortly, just in case.
"Now it is my responsibility to make sure they're not satisfied anymore," he told reporters following the loss to the Sharks in the season finale.
And they shouldn't be satisfied. The playoffs were never the ultimate goal for L.A., even if it was quite a battle to get in. This group of Kings has already proved very capable of making the postseason, something they've now done for three consecutive years. But GM Dean Lombardi didn't send all that talent to Philadelphia for Mike Richards just for another one-and-done. He didn't ship the talented Jack Johnson to Columbus so Los Angeles could sneak into the No. 8 seed. It's about winning in the playoffs now, and this team is more than capable despite a wild season that included a blockbuster trade and a coaching change.