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.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer