No team fell faster than the Los Angeles Kings in the final three weeks of the regular season.
Los Angeles hopes to avoid a franchise-record 11th straight loss when it visits the playoff-bound San Jose Sharks in the teams’ regular season finale.
Following a 5-1 victory over Anaheim on March 14, the Kings were tied for seventh place in the Western Conference and on track to make the playoffs. Since then, Los Angeles has lost 10 straight (0-9-0-1) to drop into 11th, ending any chance it had at the postseason.
“Obviously, you never want to be part of a losing streak,” Kings forward Luc Robitaille said. “But it’s not so much the streak as it is losing that battle for a playoff spot that we fought for all year. The hardest thing we have to do is accept it, because we have no choice now.”
The Kings also dropped 10 in a row from Feb. 22-March 9, 1984.
Friday’s 3-2 loss to Calgary left Los Angeles with a 15-16-9-1 home record— their worst such mark during a full season since 1985-86, when they were 9-27-4.
With the impending labor problems in the NHL, Sunday could be the final game of Robitaille’s career.
Robitaille, the highest-scoring left wing in league history, has said he could retire if there is a lockout next season.
“It would be hard to play again a year later,” Robitaille said. “You never know. It would be hard to play even two years later. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”
San Jose, which has a franchise-record 102 points, will be the second seed in the Western Conference behind Detroit when the playoffs begin next week.
The Sharks had a five-game win streak snapped with a 4-1 loss to visiting Vancouver on Friday.
Though his team has little left to play for in the regular season, San Jose coach Ron Wilson was not pleased with his club’s performance.
“They were obviously a little bit hungrier than we were,” Wilson said. “You always win as a team and lose as a team, but we had a couple guys who didn’t battle the way we needed them to and it cost us early in the game. If you don’t want to play in a game like this where you give 100 percent, then we’ve got other people.”