Kings become fifth franchise in history to start playoffs 11-1


It might be time to crown the 2012 Los Angeles Kings the best eighth seed in NHL history (but feel free to provide some counterpoints in the comments). If nothing else, they’ve had one of the hottest starts of any team – regardless of seeding – as NBC Sports Network provided an interesting stat. The Kings are now the fifth franchise (and sixth team) to go 11-1 in their first 12 playoff games.

Here’s the list, with an asterisk for the teams/franchise that ended up winning it all.

Montreal Canadiens (1968)*
Montreal Canadiens (1976)*
New York Islanders (1983)
Detroit Red Wings (1995)
Pittsburgh Penguins (2008)
Los Angeles Kings (2012) – TBD

Liam McHugh remarked that “only” those Habs teams ended up winning the Cup, but there are number of factors that make that more reasonable. The most obvious is that the Stanley Cup finals can be a new ballgame altogether; sometimes one conference is notably weaker than the other. The 2008 Penguins are an obvious example. They buzzed through so-so East teams until they ran into a brick wall known as the Detroit Red Wings.

So let me ask: will the Kings become the third team and second franchise to win a Cup after starting 11-1? (Note that they’ll start the next round on the road regardless of which East team advances.)

Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

NBCSN screen
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You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

Sean Couturier
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When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

Joy abounded.

Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

Dougie Hamilton
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Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

Senators lose Michalek, Zibanejad to injuries vs. Flyers

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It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.

The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.

Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.

Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.

Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.

The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.