An early exit from the postseason is never an easy fate to accept, especially when the expectations, predictions, and history angled in your favor.
And especially with the group of players the Kings had.
“Shaking the other teams hand is a pretty terrible feeling,” said Tyler Toffoli. “It was just disappointment knowing what our team was, what we had, the group.”
A long summer is ahead for the Kings, who were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in five games in the Western Conference Quarterfinal. Now, a team other than the Kings or the Chicago Blackhawks will raise the Stanley Cup for the first time in five years. It’s a harsh reminder of just how hard a championship run is, notably for a team that was able to achieve such a feat twice in three years.
“It’s hard. It’s very hard,” said Anze Kopitar. “I mean, there’s legit sixteen teams that could win the Cup and that’s what it comes down to… and even out of that sixteen, there are a few more that just missed the playoffs that can just get hot and go all the way too.”
As always, the offseason will bring changes, but it will also give the team’s core bunch plenty of time to exhale, regroup, and come back stronger next season.
“The expectations are the highest that they could possibly be,” said Kopitar. “Everyone’s looking ahead now. Nobody’s going to look back at this season and pout about it. We all know what the goals are… it’s making the playoffs, and then go from there and go all the way.”
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