Twelve wins in 14 playoff games. A perfect 8-0 road record. The Los Angeles Kings are going to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1993, and this time they’re going in juggernaut fashion.
But what, if anything, could trip them up? We’ve come up with three possibilities that don’t include kidnapping Jonathan Quick, kidnapping Anze Kopitar, kidnapping Drew Doughty…basically we’ve ruled out kidnappings.
1. The long week off. Game 1 of the Cup finals isn’t scheduled until next Wednesday, meaning another big break for the Kings. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting some rest – the New York Rangers wouldn’t mind falling into a nice coma for a few days – but too much rest can cause rust. And even though it wasn’t a problem for the Kings after the first or second round, it still could be. Plus, we’re contractually bound as sportswriters to mention stuff like the rust factor.
2. The power play. It’s not good. In fact, it’s awful. Just six goals on 74 chances (8.1%). Yeah, yeah, the 2011 Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup despite a bad power play; however, we’d wager more teams have lost the Cup because they couldn’t convert with the man advantage. For example, the 2011 Vancouver Canucks.
3. Overconfidence. Not to take anything away from the Kings’ spectacular playoff run, but they’ve had quite a few things go their way. First they got a Canucks team without Daniel Sedin for three games. Next up were the Blues, minus goalie Jaroslav Halak the entire series, with Alex Pietrangelo missing one game and playing the rest on a sprained knee. Then came the Phoenix “Just Happy to be Here” Coyotes who didn’t stop basking in the glow of the conference finals until it was too late. Again, I’m not trying to take anything away from the Kings. All I’m doing is calling them lucky SOBs.
Any other reason to think the Kings won’t be waltzing to a championship? Other, of course, than the fact the Rangers and Devils are pretty good teams themselves. Share in the comments section.
Ryan Johansen played 309 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets before a blockbuster trade to Nashville last January.
On Sunday, he finally made his return back to Columbus as a member of the Predators. However, he did not receive any sort of tribute whatsoever from the team that originally selected him fourth overall in the 2010 draft, and that is something that apparently bothered him.
“I am a little disappointed they didn’t put anything on the Jumbotron and say ‘thank you’ or anything like that,” Johansen told the Columbus Post-Dispatch. “I think we all know who made that call, but whatever.”
While Johansen enjoyed some productive seasons with the Blue Jackets, his time in Columbus, particularly his final months, were dogged with contentious headlines about his contract negotiations with the club and then his working relationship with coach John Tortorella.
Johansen, now 24 years old, has nine goals and 40 points in 58 games this season for Nashville. Currently in the final year of his three-year, $12 million contract, he’s a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Brent Burns turned in a dominating performance. But Brad Marchand had the last laugh.
Marchand scored his 25th goal of the season and, more importantly, the overtime winner for the Boston Bruins as they defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Sunday.
That’s Boston’s fourth consecutive win since the controversial coaching change — which took another twist earlier in the week when the rival Montreal Canadiens fired Michel Therrien and hired Claude Julien. Off a defensive zone faceoff, Marchand bolted up the ice for the breakaway pass, on what appeared to be a set play, beating Martin Jones through the legs.
The Bruins move back into third in the Atlantic Division, and are now only four points back of the faltering Habs for first.
Meanwhile, the Sharks were unable to fully capitalize on another freakish Brent Burns outing. He’s been dubbed ‘an unstoppable force’ in recent posts at PHT — a defenseman possessing great size at six-foot-five-inches tall and 230 pounds, but no shortage of mobility and offensive talent with 27 goals and 64 points in 60 games. Um, and did we mention he’s a defenseman. . . ?
Against the Bruins, he had 20 shot attempts — by far the most of any player in this game — in just over 26 minutes of ice time.
Given the final score, that probably doesn’t mean much to Brad Marchand.
It appears Jacob Trouba will face supplemental discipline from the NHL.
The league’s Department of Player Safety has said in a Twitter statement that Trouba, the Winnipeg Jets defenseman, will have a hearing tomorrow for his head shot on Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone during Sunday’s game.
Trouba was assessed only a minor penalty on the play. Stone, who dealt with a concussion prior to the beginning of the season, stayed down on the ice before he eventually made his way to the dressing room.
The incident occurred when Trouba stepped up to throw a hit on Stone, but instead caught him in the head as he followed through, sending Stone to the ice.
Stone was one of three Ottawa forwards to leave the game because of injuries, which are piling up for the Senators.
The Tampa Bay Lightning needed overtime to defeat the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, but it’s a critical win for the Bolts as they try to chase down a playoff spot.
The hero? Jonathan Drouin, and he did so with a thrilling individual effort — making moves, then losing the puck and then immediately getting it back before he finally scored on the backhander.
That’s his 17th goal of the season. Tampa Bay gets a 3-2 win, which keeps them five points back of Toronto for the final wild card spot in the East.