LA Kings Are the Most Dangerous Team in the Playoffs


May 16, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing

Marian Gaborik

(12) celebrates teammates

Drew Doughty

(8) and

Alec Martinez

(27)after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanley Cup Playoffs always add a new layer of intensity and drama to an already epic regular season. And now that we’ve gotten down to the final four, we’re left with the best teams both conferences have to offer.

And yet, it’s not the fiery Canadians or the savvy Blackhawks that we should be watching.

That would be the Los Angeles Kings.

Coming in as the third seed in the Western Conference, the Kings took on the familiar opponents in the San Jose Sharks. In that series, the Kings made history as they became the fourth team in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit. This is where we began to saw the beast begin to rise. They fought off the aggressive and feisty nature of the Sharks and stamped themselves into the record books.

And in the second round, we saw them take on the Anaheim Ducks for the first time in the playoffs. Despite the Ducks being the top seed in the West, the Kings fought hard and flexed their muscles in Game 7. With the wins in Game 6 and 7, the Kings improved to 6-0 in elimination games this postseason. They know how it feels to fight as underdogs, having won the Cup in 2012 as the eight seed.

But, despite having through gone 14 games already this postseason, this isn’t why the Kings are dangerous.

The sudden emergence of their offensive firepower and the reemergence of their 2012 defense is why no one should want to play the Kings right now at this point in the playoffs (sorry Blackhawks).

When the Kings traded for Marion Gaborik, everyone was raving about the potential offensive explosion he would bring. In the few regular season games with the Kings, Gaborik showed flashes of his deadly speed and wicked snapshot. In these playoffs, Gaborik leads the league in goals with 9 and is second in points with 15. He only trails teammate Anze Kopitar in point, who leads the league with 19 points.

The offense for the Kings is what is most surprising. In the regular season, they only averaged 2.42 goals per game, good for 26th in the league. However, in these playoffs, the Kings are averaging 3.21 goals a game. That’s almost a whole another goal per game and good for second in the league, behind the Canadiens. For the Kings, having this type of surge is exactly how they need to win games playing against high-powered offenses.

Not only has their average gone up, but they show the ability to score at will. In both of their Game 7’s, the Kings have scored more than five goals. They have scored more than 3 goals in 10 out of their 14 games so far. Having that type of offensive punch makes the Kings scary.

On the defensive side, the Kings finished the regular season with a 2.05 goals against average, good for first place. Although they have slipped a bit to 2.64 GAA, they still make the top ten in that category. As many saw in the last two games against the Ducks, their goaltending has flexed their muscles as well. Jonathan Quick is starting to revert back to his 2012 form, where he was a constant nuisance for other teams, closing down the net when it mattered the most.

Quick has stayed consistent as well, his regular season save percentage at .915, and his playoff percentage is .914. He helped lead the Kings to the win over the Ducks, consistently stopping the highest scoring team from the regular season. The team upped their penalty kill percentage also by a few points, rising from 83.1 percent to 83.9. Even though it’s a slight increase, the Kings have been known for the last few season to be stout on the defensive end.

When it comes down to it, stats don’t mean much. Everyone can put up numbers and say things to go with it. However, when you actually watch the games, the Kings show off why they won a cup two season ago. And as we go into a battle of the previous two Stanley Cup champions, it’s evident that the Kings have found their stride and are ready to keep making more strides.

The Kings are ready to bring the fight.