The Los Angeles Kings, seen as serious underdogs in their first round match up against the President’s Trophy winner Vancouver Canucks, managed to topple the Goliath in just 5 games. I want to just point out a few things that helped the Kings to their first series win in 11 years.
-Despite missing top scorer Daniel Sedin for the first 2 games (CORRECTION: Daniel missed the first 3 games. Thanks, Bryan) of the series, hockey pundits and journalists had the Canucks pulling through with ease. However, these playoffs have seen the usual suspects going down to some new faces. The Kings, Predators, and Blues have all advanced. Phoenix is on the cusp of eliminating the Blackhawks.
-While it is easy to blame the Canucks’ series loss on Daniel Sedin’s absence, a bigger problem is that Kesler, Booth, Raymond, and Higgins all failed to tally goals in the series. The Canucks only managed 8 goals in the 5 game series.
-The Kings use of 4 lines seemed to give them a boost of energy in the grueling, physical series. It will likely be key as the playoffs wear on.
-While he hasn’t been dynamic all series, Doughty showed some of the offensive prowess he possesses in the Kings’ game 5 victory, driving to the net and assisting on Richardson’s goal.
-Luongo wasn’t the problem in net for the Canucks, yet his numbers were drastically worse than backup Schneider’s. It reignites the debate of who should be Vancouver’s starter. With some turnaround expected in Vancouver, both player and coaching-wise, it will be interesting to see if Luongo gets put on the block. Of course they’ll have to find a taker for his gargantuan contract that extends another 10 years.
-Quick was phenomenal. His numbers are bonkers. He is, again, the reason the team is in the second round. At this point, I find it unlikely the Kings would part with Quick as their franchise man but that’s a discussion for another day.
-Vancouver looked much better with both Sedin’s in the line-up. However, the Kings found their game in the second period last night and were able to eke out an OT win to close out the series.
-Oh Captain! My Captain! Brown was lights out. He continues to shut up the doubters, leading the Kings in goals and points through round 1. The top line of Kopitar, Brown, and Williams looked very good at times.
-Jeff Carter will be interesting to track as his ankle gets stronger. The Kings will need some offense from him as they move into round 2.
-At this point, anything from Penner is welcome and he was pretty good in round 1.
-As I have said before, the Kings seem to have settle down from the jitters they had the past 2 seasons.
-St. Louis has a pretty good powerplay now. Kings will have to limit penalties.
-On that same token, the Kings’ powerplay is still awful and will need to pick up the pace.
-Lastly: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Round 2, baby!!!!!
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney