The Los Angeles Kings are on fire. On Sunday afternoon, they completed a series sweep of the 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues en route to their second Conference Final in franchise history. For Kings fans that have endured many lean years, it’s time they enjoy these fat times. Is that appropriate to say? Not a shift goes by that Kings fans aren’t thankful for the ride their team has taken them on. So it’s on to the next series.
Before the series, the Kings and Blues were considered mirror images of each other. What went right for the Kings against the Blues? Let’s take a look!
-They were a physical force. They beat the Blues up and the physical edge paid dividends.
-The penalty kill was bonkers. The Blues had problems with the PP before the playoffs but it seemed as though they had those problems solved against the Sharks. That was not the case against the Kings. The Blues went 0 for 17 in their series against the Kings. Not to mention the shorthanded goals.
-The forecheck. The Kings were tenacious, namely Trevor Lewis. They made it very hard for the Blues to get out of their own end and prevented them from carrying any momentum into the Kings zone.
-They crashed the crease. The Kings went at Elliot hard and often. Especially Dustin Brown. He didn’t have a goal until the last game of the series, however his crease-crash of Elliot on the Matt Greene goal was typical of the type of play the Captain led with.
-The big names are showing up. Kopitar, Richards, Carter, Brown, Doughty, and yes, even Penner all had their A-games going.
-Quick. Once again Quick was excellent. He’s a big game player, he makes the big save when it counts. He props this team up when they need it. It’s interesting to note, however, that Bob McKenzie, Craig Button, and Marc Crawford all named Brown as their MVP pick for the Kings through 2 rounds.
What did not go well?
-The Power Play. It’s not good. It’s bound to be the worst PP in the next round. Yet, the Kings Penalty Kill has made the man-advantage moot so far. They cancel it out. Sutter has the wonderful perspective that the Kings have scored when they needed to on the PP. However, we have yet to see the downside of that equation.
-There were occasional disciplinary lapses. The Kings can’t resort to laziness when they’re up in a game because it leads to Power Plays for the opposition.
What about the next round? Well, they don’t have an opponent yet but the Coyotes lead the Predators in their series 3 games to 1. The Coyotes are another low scoring team that gets by on spectacular goaltending. Mike Smith will be quite the hurdle. If the Preds manage to comeback, the Kings will be faced with a huge goaltender in Pekka Rinne and a party-boy Russian offense. Okay, I’m kidding. They have a rough and tumble, diverse team with some of the best defensemen in the world. Who are you rooting for?
Kings fans couldn’t be more excited about the playoffs that their team has had up until now and they can’t wait for the next round. The ride that this team has put together is worth every bit of the itching that this terrible beard is giving me.
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