They skate, they shoot, they check. They play inspired, determined, and ready to shock the NHL playoff field — as if they haven’t already. They are the Los Angeles Kings. They are my Kings, your Kings, our Kings.
They are the Kings that have won 12 of 14 playoff games this season. They are the Kings that are warriors of the road this postseason, boasting an 8-0 record outside of Los Angeles. They are the Kings that have united a city with impressive play of late, and the Kings that for the first time in 19 years, return to the Stanley Cup Finals, only for the second time in its franchise’s history. Oh yeah. It’s on.
After settling for the 8th seed in their conference, the Kings swaggered into the first round of the NHL playoffs with a 40-27 record to take on the top seeded Vancouver Canucks. Surprisingly, after the series’ opening in Vancouver, and one game at home, the King’s boasted a 3-0 series lead, a franchise first. After only dropping game four at home, the King’s avenged their only series loss with an overtime victory in Vancouver, clinching the series in just five games.
With the series win against Vancouver, the Kings advanced to the Conference Quarterfinals, a first for Los Angeles since the 2000-2001 season, in which they swept second seeded St. Louis in four games. With yet another series victory, the Kings were propelled into the Conference Finals, after becoming the only time in NHL playoff history to defeat the #1 and #2 seeds in the postseason.
Pitted against the third seeded Coyotes in the conference finals, the Kings quickly jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, outscoring the higher seeded Coyotes 10-3 in those three games combined. After suffering a 2-0 setback in the potential series clinching game, the Kings hit the road once again in Phoenix for the fifth game of the series. After falling behind numerous times in the opening periods, the Kings found every way possible to tie the game before its ultimate overtime period. Dustin Penner would score the winning goal in overtime, sending the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals.
“I got a lucky bounce,” Penner said. “I just waited for it to settle down, and I got a chance to get it in the net…It’s the biggest goal of my career so far,” Penner added. “Hopefully, there are a couple more waiting in the finals.”
Statistically, Dustin Brown has led the Kings in the playoffs this season with 9 assists, 7 goals, and 16 total points. The Kings await the winner of the New York Rangers/New Jersey Devils series before contesting for the Stanley Cup.
The Kings have enjoyed its Cinderella Run in this year’s NHL playoffs unlike any other professional hockey team in the sport’s history, asserting their skill, performance, and ambition en-route to the Stanley Cup Finals.