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NHL Playoffs 2012: Phoenix Loss Helps Kings In Pacific Division Race

The Los Angeles Kings were idle on Sunday night, but they still benefited in the NHL Western Conference playoff picture. The Phoenix Coyotes, one of four teams within a point of each other in the Pacific Division, including the Kings, lost on Sunday night 4-0 at home to the St. Louis Blues. Phoenix is still tied for the division lead, but has just five games remaining in its schedule, the fewest of the group:

NHL Pacific Division Standings
Team Games W-L-OL Pts Remaining
Dallas 75 41-29-5 87 2 home / 5 road
Phoenix 77 37-27-13 87 3 home / 2 road
LA Kings 75 37-26-12 86 2 home / 5 road
San Jose 75 38-27-10 86 3 home / 4 road
Anaheim 76 32-33-11 75 2 home / 4 road
Through games of March 25

The Kings are tied with the San Jose Sharks for the eighth and ninth spots in the Western Conference, and those two teams battle each other in the last two games of the regular season. However, the coveted third seed is up for grabs with a Pacific Division crown, which is still in sight for any of those four teams.

The Chicago Blackhawks also lost at home, 6-1 to Nashville, on Sunday night. Chicago is tied for sixth place in the west at 92 points with 76 games played, one more than the Kings. It might be a longshot for the Kings to catch the Blackhawks, but if they did it would likely mean a division title for the Kings and a better record than the sixth seed, which would mean home ice advantage in the first round. However, that is assuming that a slumping Chicago would remain the sixth seed, which might be a tad presumptuous.

The Kings open a four-game road trip Monday night in Vancouver. Dallas plays at Calgary, while San Jose hosts Colorado.

For more Kings news and information, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.