Los Angeles Kings One of the Best Teams in Stanley Cup History, Say What?
Sorry, New Jersey Devils fans, the outcome of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals is inevitable. The Los Angeles Kings will win the Stanley Cup. The only question is will it be tonight and can the Kings prove to be one of the greatest Stanley Cup Champions in history? To put the eighth seeded Kings among hockey's greatest teams seems unlikely, but consider the facts of their 15-2 playoff run so far.
Hockey dynasties like the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers didn't cruise through the playoffs at the same clip as 2012's best of the west. The Kings never trailed a series, never trailed a game, never lost a road game and built 3-0 series leads in every round. That's total domination.
The Kings have beaten the #1 (Vancouver), #2 (St. Louis), and #3 (Phoenix) seeds on their way to hockey's biggest prize. They hold the NHL record for most road wins in a single playoff season, consecutive road wins in the playoffs, and the fewest number of losses in the modern NHL playoff format. Only the mighty 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers have equaled that mark in a Stanley Cup run, with the Kings having only two losses heading into a potential Game 4 sweep tonight.
The Kings have two solid scoring lines, but are getting contributions from all four (something we can only hope for in Buffalo next season), but chances are you can't name six players on the roster. Billy Smith allowed only 4 goals when the New York Islanders swept the Edmonton Oilers in 1982. So far Jonathon Quick has allowed two in the finals. If you haven't figured it out by now, he's hockey's new elite goalie, and his playoff numbers are on parwith Stanley Cup runs from guys like Jaques Plante, Patrick Roy and yes, Martin Brodeur.
The 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens were one of the most dominant teams in NHL history losing only 7 regular season games, but even they dropped two games in the playoffs. If Los Angeles wins tonight, they will have the same playoff record as that dominant franchise. It's been an incredible and improbable run.
All hail the Kings!