Greetings all on a sunny Sunday morning from Washington D.C. We are almost through the month of May and that means one thing….The Stanley Cup Finals are fast approaching. As always in these playoffs – the very best in professional sports – series have gone not at all like anyone predicted. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and Boston Bruins were all knocked out in the first round. They represent five of your six Stanley Cup finalist’s and winners the past five seasons. All gone in the first round.
Unpredictability is a wonderful thing.
Kings of Los Angeles Ruling The West
The second round overall was just as unpredictable as the first. The Los Angeles Kings bowled over the Canucks in the first and the St. Louis Blues in the second. Don’t refer to those as upsets, least you forget the Kings were considered one of the best teams before the start of the season. A lack of scoring and injuries contributed to their under performing. With Johnathan Quick as the Kings goaltender, all things are possible. At 11-1 in the playoffs so far and on the brink of sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes, the Los Angeles Kings seem to be the team of destiny.
The Coyotes, who took care of the Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators in a eleven combined games, were supposed to be a formidable foe for the Kings, but again, it seem destiny has other plans. Dustin Brown, Captain of the Kings, is playing on a whole other level right now. Scoring timely goals and seemingly making up for lost playoff chances.
Anze Kopitar is right there with Brown, scoring and playing the physical game his 6’3 frame allows him to play.
Johnathan Quick is the rock star of Los Angeles right now. While the rest of L.A. Wonders whether or not Kobe Bryant is finished, Quick his blowing up the hockey world allowing a whopping 1.41 goals a game while saving over 95% of shots thrown his way.
Pay attention Los Angeles, you have another superstar on your hands. Get ready Tinseltown, you might become a Kings town instead of a Lakers town, even if for just one summer. With a 3 games to 0 lead in the series, the Kings can punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals with a victory on Sunday, with the puck dropping at 3 o’ clock.
Eastern Conference Balanced
On the eastern side of the country, the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are locked in a tight series at 2-1 in favor of the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist shutout the Devils for the second time yesterday afternoon with a spectacular 36-save performance. The Rangers are winning thanks to a total team effort with different contributors every night. Although, Brad Richards, already a past Cup champ with the Tampa Bay Lightning, is by far the Rangers best offensive player so far. He scored another timely goal yesterday that jump started the Rangers and allowed them to blank New Jersey for the second time in three games. But players like Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh, and Chris Kreider give the Rangers depth needed to win it all.
The Devils won their game thanks to in no small part to the play of Martin Brodeur in net. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise have disappeared for the Devils so far this series. If the Devils want any chance to beat the mighty Rangers they need their stars to step up and play a full game. Two games the Rangers have come out and absolutely dominated the entire third period pushing the Devils around and being the better team. But as in any sport, the Devils only need to play one full game to get them back on track and swing momentum in their favor.
Next game is Monday at 8 EST on NBC Sports Network. Keep watching everyone. Keep watching. The playoffs are only going to get better.