EDMONTON - LOS ANGELES — It’s a situation the Los Angeles Kings have not been familiar with as of late — playing beyond the regular season.
However, there’s excitement and optimism in their room as the club prepares for its first playoff appearance since 2002.
“I think we have a good mix of veterans who have been there before and those who will be playing in the playoffs for the first time,” said Kings winger Ryan Smyth. “I think it brings a lot of energy and excitement to the room.
“Obviously, things are magnified in the playoffs, but I think we have a good system here and we can have success if we stick to it.”
Smyth was acquired in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche this off-season in order to help the Kings get into the post-season. He’s one of three former Oilers on the squad that were part of 2006 run to the Stanley Cup final.
Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll will be playing in the post-season for the first time since losing in Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It’s good to get back into the playoffs, especially with this city and this group, it’s well needed,” Stoll said.
“It’s been a while, so it’s good to try and get this building going and play some good hockey.
“We’ve worked hard throughout the season to get to this point, but obviously this is only the first step. It’s been a long road, but we’ve very happy to be there.”
Heading into their game against the Oilers on Saturday, the Kings had yet to determine their playoff positioning.
However, as the Oilers proved in 2006, all that really matters is getting in.
“I think there are some similarities between those two teams,” Stoll said. “We’re kind of in the middle of the pack just like we were then. We’ve played well all year and similar to that run in 2006, we’re peaking at the right time.”