If you read my rant on the Kings last week, you’ll know that I hate the notion that they’re anything close to an “underdog” story just because they finished eighth in their conference. I also hate the fact that people are now pointing to the Kings and saying, “see, all you have to do is get in (to the playoffs), and then anything can happen.”
I hate this because, again, if you read my prior rant, you’ll know that I think it’s ridiculous to treat this Kings team like your standard eight-seed.
But forget dismissing them as an underdog for now. What I’m hear to marvel over this morning is the Kings’ utter domination through 11 games and two-and-a-half rounds of the 2012 Playoffs. In short, they’ve dominated the post-season like few teams in my lifetime ever have.
In cruising past the Canucks and Blues and now jumping out to a 2-0 series lead over the Coyotes, the Kings have become the first team to start the post-season 10-1 since the 2008 Penguins. In fact, L.A. is just the fifth team in the last 29 years to start the playoffs with wins in 10 of their first 11 games. The last four teams to do it, though, have all finished in the top-four overall during the regular season (though it should be noted that only one of the last four teams to start 10-1 in the playoffs, the 1988 Oilers, ended up winning the Cup that season).
Another interesting thing to note is that if the Kings can win Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles to complete the sweep, they’ll become the first team since the 1976 Canadiens to win 12 of 13 games to start the post-season. That Habs team went 58-11-11 during the 1975-76 regular season and won their first of four straight Stanley Cups.
Perhaps what’s most impressive and most intimidating about this powerhouse Kings run is that seven of those 10 playoff wins have come on the road (with a road goal-differential of 26-10), where L.A. has become just the sixth team to win seven straight road games in one post-season. Four of the previous five teams to do so went on to win the Cup.
Obviously, it’s hard to stake claim to dominance without ultimately winning a championship, and as I’ve mentioned, only one of the last four teams to start the playoffs 10-1 actually ended up lifting Lord Stanley’s Mug.
But for right now, we should be appreciating this Kings team for what they are, and the numbers suggest what they are is one of the most dominating playoff teams of the last 30 years.
Now here are your morning links:
- A slim chance remains that this could have been the Coyotes’ last game in Arizona (Tucson Citizen). I’ve reached a point where I just assume this whole relocation and ownership thing is going to hang over the Coyotes forever. Doesn’t it feel that way?
- Mike Smith wants his teammates to do more (Bettor.com).
- The angry Coyotes are in a hole (Arizona Daily Star). The Coyotes got reckless last night, and they should be punished for it. Luckily, even if Brendan Shanahan and the NHL don’t step in, the Kings have shown they’re quite capable of punishing an opponent.
- Martin Brodeur was foolish to even suggest such a thing (New York Post). The Rangers might want to put on some more protective equipment before blocking another shot, after what Marty said.
- The Devils’ big concern is the Devils right now (The Sun Times).
- Ryan McDonagh’s star is on the rise after his defensive play for the Rangers in Game 1 (Sporting News). Any time your star is “on the rise” in New York, I’d say you’re in a pretty good spot.
- Todd McLellan will reportedly return as Sharks head coach, but he’ll have new assistants (Puck Daddy). I don’t follow the Sharks closely enough to say whether this is warranted or a joke, but from afar, I’m asking what the hell the Sharks accomplished this season to secure their coach’s job.
- Teams are spreading the gospel of shot-blocking in the playoffs (National Post). I’m cool with people talking shot-blocking, as long as they’re not complaining about it.