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Teams that climb as fast as the Kings, usually fall in finals


Guest Irishjim
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Ryan Dadoun:

The Los Angeles Kings couldn’t have been much more dominant in their road to the Stanley Cup Finals. With a 12-2 record, can the winner of the New Jersey Devils-New York Rangers series possibly stand in their way? Yes, actually.

In fact, if anything, history is not on the Kings’ side.

The last four squads to post a 12-2 record through three rounds lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. They were Chicago (1992), Detroit (1995), Anaheim (2003), and Pittsburgh (2008). In fact, since the opening round became a best-of-seven series, only the Edmonton Oilers in 1987 and 1988 managed to win the Stanley Cup after breezing through with a 12-2 record.

Of course, history lessons like that should be taken with a grain of salt. The odds aren’t automatically against the Los Angeles Kings just because the majority of past teams that cruised to the Stanley Cup finals ended up faltering.

A more positive way to look at it for Los Angeles is that they’re closing in on some playoff records. Los Angeles has a perfect 8-0 road record and no team has ever won more than 10 road games in a single postseason run. If the Kings sweep the Stanley Cup Finals, then they will tie the 1988 Edmonton Oilers – a team that included Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Jari Kurri – for the least games needed to win a Stanley Cup under the current playoff format.

History might not be on the Kings’ side – but then, how many eighth seeds get to the Stanley Cup Finals in the first place? History was never their friend, but that’s fine because they’re rewriting it.

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I don't know how you say the Kings are a fast climbing team. They started putting together a solid base 2 to 3 years ago. Add to that fact the hottest goalie on the face of the planet is currently playing for them, and the addition of Richards and yes even Carter and you have put the icing on the cake.

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Apparently, the Kings didn't get the memo. Before the series I thought the Devils were likely to win the Cup. But after watching the Kings last night, I like their chances.

The Kings did what the Flyers and the Rangers couldn't: the executed their way through the NJ pressure and played long stretches in the Devils end. They were fearless and consistent with short, quick, in some cases risky passes to work the puck out of their own end and up ice. The Devils will bring more pressure and to to some degree the series will ride on whether the Kings can continue to execute their way out of that pressure or crack under it like the other teams.

How much pressure can Jersey bring? We're about to find out and we're also about to find out if the Kings can handle it. I'm optimistic they can.

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