We are nearing the end of the 2023-24 NHL season, and that means one thing. 16 teams, including clubs such as the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, and Los Angeles Kings, are headed to the NHL Playoffs. And they will go to war on the ice this spring to fight for the right to hoist the Stanley Cup in June.

The Kings clinched their playoff berth already. However, it wasn't smooth sailing by any means. In fact, Los Angeles made a coaching change around the All-Star Game. Interim bench boss Jim Hiller took over a team that seemed down and out after a hot start. But he has righted the ship and helped them into the NHL Playoffs.

Los Angeles does not have their playoff opponent set in stone quite yet. However, there is one opponent that will give them nightmares this spring. It's an opponent they are rather familiar with at this point. And it's an opponent they have yet to beat in the NHL Playoffs. Let's take a look at the nightmare seeding scenario and matchup for the Los Angeles Kings this spring.

Where Kings may finish

Los Angeles Kings center Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) and defenseman Andreas Englund (5) congratulate goaltender Cam Talbot (39) after defeating the Calgary Flames at Crypto.com Arena.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings are currently holding onto third place in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles is not comfortable in this position, though. They are only three points clear of the Vegas Golden Knights for the final playoff seed in the division. Their final few games will determine their opponent for the first round of the NHL Playoffs.

If they fall behind Vegas, Los Angeles likely ends up as the second wild card. In that event, the Kings are likely headed for a showdown with the Central Division champion. Any one of the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, or Colorado Avalanche could be their opponent in the opening round in this scenario.

All three of those teams represent challenges in their own way. And the Kings would certainly have issues facing any of those teams. however, their true nightmare seeding scenario is remaining in third place in the Pacific. If they clinch that spot, they would head into the NHL Playoffs facing an opponent they are all too familiar with.

NHL Playoffs rematch with Oilers is not ideal

If the Kings clinch third in the Pacific, Los Angeles may take on the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton can still win the Pacific Division, to be fair. However, they currently hold onto second place, three points back of the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks. If Los Angeles and Edmonton meet in the 2024 NHL Playoffs, it'd mark the third consecutive opening-round matchup between the teams.

They first met in 2022. Edmonton and Los Angeles finished second and third, respectively, in the Pacific. It was one of the most intense matchups of the entire playoffs. However, the Oilers defeated the Kings in seven games en route to a Western Conference Finals appearance.

In 2023, the Oilers and Kings once again finished second and third in the Pacific. This time, the series did not go to seven games. That being said, the result remained the same. Edmonton defeated Los Angeles in six games. They failed to make the Western Conference Finals, though. They fell in the second round to the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Kings may face higher-seeded teams in other scenarios. However, the Oilers seemingly have the Kings's number in the NHL Playoffs. Los Angeles certainly can make noise this spring. But another matchup with Edmonton is not ideal if they want to go on a deep run in 2024.