Four wins down, 12 to go.
That’s how many wins that the defending Stanley Cup champions need to keep that iconic trophy as the L.A. Kings, after losing the first two games of their Western Conference Quarterfinals to the St. Louis Blues, won their 4th straight game over them on Friday night, 2-1, and advanced to the second round of the NHL playoffs.
A beyond-capacity crowd of 18,346 at Staples Center went particularly wild when Dustin Penner listened to his teammates’ and the fans’ cries to shoot the puck and broke a 1-1 tie with 0.2 seconds left in the second period, which ended up being the difference.
“If you don’t try, you don’t know,” Penner said afterward about his goal.
Goalie Jonathan Quick, who stopped 21 of 22 shots in the game, has a .944 save percentage so far in this series and is fast reminding folks of the form he had last season, which won him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The fact that every game in this series was a one-goal affair says much about how intense the games were between the Kings and the 4th-seeded Blues.
“(St. Louis) played a great series,” Penner commented. “They got unlucky a few times. We got lucky.”
The fifth-seeded Kings, who won their 10th straight home game, will next play either the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks, who swept Vancouver in their first round series, or – hold on to your jerseys…
The Anaheim Ducks in what would be the ultimate showdown for hockey supremacy in Los Angeles and Southern California.
The second-seeded Ducks, having lost in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, are tied at three game apiece in their first round series and will play Game 7 at Honda Center on Sunday night.
If the Ducks win, SoCal will become the focus of the hockey world for the next couple of weeks, the significance being that this would be the first time that two teams from the Los Angeles area met in a playoff.
Can the Ducks hold up their end of the deal and meet their L.A. rivals, separated by just 30 miles on I-5?
We’ll know in roughly 48 hours…
L.A. Sports Hubbers: Who would you rather see the Kings play in the next round – the Ducks or the Sharks?