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Kings Game 77 Plus/Minuses: Kings Clinch, Reach 100-Point Mark & Korpsialo Solid Again

Here are some pluses and minuses from Sunday’s game.



It seemed like an inevitability, but the Los Angeles Kings officially clinched a playoff berth on Sunday with their 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

The Kings continued their stellar defensive play in Vancouver and beat the Canucks in regulation for the first time since 2018.

Here are some pluses and minuses from Sunday's game.

+ Kings Clinch a Playoff Spot and Reach 100-Points

For the second season in a row the Kings will participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And for just the sixth time in franchise history they've eclipsed the century mark.

It seems like an eternity ago that the sky was falling and people were calling for Todd McLellan to be fired in December.

The Kings have gone on an impressive run since and have been one of the best teams in hockey since the All-Star break. There was concern that the steam had run out at the beginning of this road trip as the Kings dropped the first two games.

But they've rebounded well to finish the road trip 2-2.

After exceeding expectations massively by making the playoffs, the Kings have done so again this season by hitting 100-points. 

Some people viewed the Kings as a potential regression candidate heading into the season and very few had them challenging for a division title. But here we are. 

The Kings have got it done through depth and that depth came through again Sunday.

Without three key players in Kevin Fiala, Gabe Vilardi and Mikey Anderson, the Kings still managed to put in a strong performance and win. 

If they can get healthy, the Kings should feel confident heading into any matchup they have.

– Alex Edler Injury

Yes the injury to Alex Edler is a minus because injuries always suck. But this one is especially tough because it was so avoidable. 

Edler's hasn't played both games of back-to-backs at all this season because his body can't handle it. The team called up Tobias Bjornfot after Anderson's injury so they had cover. Instead of playing Bjornfot — who has over 100 NHL games under his belt — they rolled the dice with Edler Sunday.

Edler was outmuscled in front on the Canucks only goal and then didn't return after the first because of an upper-body injury. 

It might be a short-term injury and Edler could well be back on Tuesday. But starting someone who you knew couldn't handle the back-to-back made no sense.

Todd McLellan likes to rely on veteran players, but it certainly would have been better to play Bjornfot and have six defensemen rather than go down to five after just one period.

Normally there's be the excuse that you can't predict injuries. And while you still can't, the Kings certainly increased the likelihood of something like that happening by playing Edler.

Edler over Bjornfot looked like a bad decision before puck drop and was proven to be a bad decision very early on. 

+ Joonas Korpisalo

Remember when the Kings let up nine against the Kraken and Cal Petersen was sent to the minors? When the Kings had two bottom-ten goalies in the league?

Long gone are those days.

The Kings have two legit goalies now in Joonas Korpisalo and Pheonix Copley who are duking it out for a starting job come game 83.

It looked like Korpisalo had taken the starting job with back-to-back starts to kick of the road trip. But Copley came in on Saturday and was stellar, proving he wouldn't give up the net easily.

How did Korpisalo respond?

With a stellar performance of his own.

Korpisalo stopped 24 shots and finished with 2.17 goals saved above expected. He made some big saves and was crucial in the Kings going 4-4 on the penalty kill. 

It will be interesting to see if Korpisalo gets the nod again Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers as the Kings still look for their game one starter.

+ Alex Iafallo

With Fiala and Vilardi out, the Kings need someone to step up and fill the offensive void those two leave.

On Sunday, that player was Alex Iafallo.

Iafallo opened the scoring for the Kings, tying the game with a nice one-timer to beat Thatcher Demko at four-on-four. Then put the Kings ahead on the power play with the eventual game winning goal.

The second goal was a more typical Iafallo goal, picking up the scraps in front, outworking two defensemen. 

Also in very Alex Iafallo fashion, he made a stellar defensive play in the third to keep the Kings up. 

On the penalty kill, Iafallo got a crucial poke check in to deny a wide open look for the Canucks, stopping an almost guaranteed goal.

As Jim Fox said on the broadcast, it was his hat trick, scoring two and saving one. 

Iafallo's caught a lot of hate in the past, particularly when he was anchored to Anze Kopitar's wing for multiple seasons. 

But he's proving this year how valuable he is in the right role and he's a big part of the Kings' fantastic depth.

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