Are you convinced now? The Los Angeles Kings are putting on a dominant display of tight checking, brilliant goaltending, and timely goal scoring. The team of destiny has 15 wins in these 2012 playoffs, one short of making history. I personally have not seen a run like this in recent years. You have to harken back to the 1988 Edmonton Oilers who lost only two games en route to the Cup. You kind of expected it from that team. But the Kings? They have streaked to a 3-0 lead with the first two games on the road in every series. Amazing. Time to get over the surprise, they will make history soon.
You know what number I would like to see? Of the number of minutes the Kings have played in the playoffs how many minutes have they been behind. I bet is a very small percentage of time.
It seems no matter the situation the Kings are prepared and find a way to win. First periods? The Kings have owned them. Overtimes, yeah they got that too. How about special teams? The Kings are killing off 93% of shorthanded situations in the playoffs and killed all 6 Devils power plays in Game 3. Meanwhile, what could be considered the weak spot of the Kings, their power play, came through with two goals that put the game out of reach.
The Kings have shown us what can be accomplished when a team plays together as one in pursuit of the mission. They have played with professionalism. Their dominant first periods are a credit to their dedication to prepare for games and be ready. Their ability to excel in all situations is a credit to their mental and emotional toughness. The Kings' flawless execution under pressure is a result of their unbelievable focus and composure.
How is a #8 seed able to do this? Let me give you some reasons why the Kings are one win away from the Cup.
First, do not be tricked by the #8 seed. The Kings were two points from owning the #3 seed. No matter they just trampled the #3 seeded Coyotes on their home ice anyway. Second, the Kings added Jeff Carter late in the season to give them more scoring punch. It seemed he, and the offense, were just starting to get going in the last week of the season.
Third, the Kings have not won this playoff year with offense. It has been a dedicated effort to solid defense, shot blocking, and keeping Jonathan Quick upright and seeing the puck. The unheralded players on this Kings' squad have been outstanding. Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Rob Scuderi, Slava Voynov, and Willie Mitchell on defense - I would take that five on my team any day even without Drew Doughty. The Kings fourth line of King, Stoll, and Nolan have been game changers throughout the playoffs, not just energy guys. When you have the depth of players dedicated to the mission you will win a Cup. Sometimes teams will come together and commit to playing this kind of defense for two months of playoffs. It is much harder to get this kind of focus and effort in a long, brutal regular season schedule.
Maybe that is where we should leave it. When you have a group of players fighting for one another and dedicated to the mission of winning a Cup it is amazing how they can play. The Kings will play for the Cup at home Wednesday night. It is my guess that they will handle the excitement of being one win away just like they have handled this whole playoff run - being prepared to compete and play strong defense. The Kings will be ready to grasp the Cup and cement a playoff run of historic proportions.