And Then There Were Two – How The Los Angeles Kings Matchup With The Phoenix Coyotes

It occurs to me that we haven’t talked about the Phoenix Coyotes yet. Oh sure, we podcasted about it, but half the population is about as capable of listening to something more than 2 minutes long as it is going a mile while driving without looking at their cell phones.

What are the facts? Well, Jimmy, the facts are things that no one can argue about. Which means the facts basically boil down to “goals scored”, “goals allowed” and “Paul Bissonnette is better at Twitter than hockey”. So the “facts” portion of this post will be short-lived.

The Kings have scored 27 goals in 9 games and allowed only 14. Phoenix has scored 29 goals in 11 games and allowed 21. That’s 3 per game for the Kings and 1.56 against and for the Coyotes 2.64 for and 1.91 against. Among the remaining teams, the Kings are tied for 1st in goals and are first in goals against. The Coyotes are right behind them, 2nd in goals for and 2nd in goals against. Think this is going to be a fun matchup? If your idea of fun is a series that will likely be more exciting than the eventual Cup finals, then yeah, sure. If your idea of fun is a heart attack shift to shift, maybe this isn’t the round for you – and I speak to both Coyotes and Kings fans there.

Let’s take a gander at the Phoenix lineup.

The line

Ray Whitney – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata

The breakdown

This line can be dangerous if allowed too much space. While the Coyotes score by committee (this line has 7 goals and 15 points between them), this combo has everything. Size in Hanzal, speed and a shot in Vrbata and hands, veteran wiles and insane hockey IQ in Whitney. This line embodies what Phoenix does so well, balance.

The matchup

Richards line. This is not the Coyotes quickest line and Richards’ isn’t ours. The way Penner is playing, he can give these wingers fits and Carter’s high IQ matches up as well. Richards and Hanzal already have a bit of bad blood as well, with their fight back in February. . If not the Richards line, then Kopitar takes this matchup. But truly this is because I want Kopitar saved for…

The line

Mikkel Boedker – Antonie Vermette – Shane Doan

The breakdown

This is where the Coyotes do their damage. Shane Doan has been waiting his whole career for this playoff run, Vermette is a solid two way center with great face-off skills and Boedker has some hands on him. But really this line is about speed. Boedker is blazingly quick and Vermette has speed to burn as well. Combined with Doan’s physical play and front of net presence it’s no surprise that this line has been scoring a goal per game. Boedker was also the Coyotes’ overtime hero in the first round, scoring 2 of their OT goals.

The matchup

Has to be Kopitar, Brown and Williams. Kopitar can overwhelm Vermette and the two captains get to go toe to toe. We don’t have the speed to match these guys, though Lewis comes close, but Brown is far from slow and truly this line needs to be held tight with gap control, at which Kopitar is practically unmatched, and be kept along the boards, if not out of our zone completely, which our top unit is fully capable of achieving. Finally, for our spiritual and goal leader to upstage Doan will go a long way towards winning the psychological battle. Secondary matchup goes to Stoll’s line as Dwight King’s size will be helpful against Doan and Lewis is outstanding defensively.

The line

Taylor Pyatt – Boyd Gordon – Marc Pouilot

The breakdown

I’ll be honest. I don’t know a ton about Gordon or Pouilot. These guys are grinders and Pyatt is a big mamma jamma, but he’s slow. From what I can tell, this is a combination energy/shutdown line for the Coyotes and as such they need to be hit hard and often and be playing defense. Any of our lines can take these guys if need be.

The matchup

Ideally, our 4th line. Pyatt isn’t a fighter really, but I’d like Jordan Nolan to goad him. Fraser and Gordon can grind each other to death and Richardson can skate circles around all these guys. My thinking here is that this matchup affords our 4th line the best opportunity to create offense. Secondary matchup goes to the Richards line.

The line

Kyle Chipchura – Daymond Langkow – Gilbert Brule

The breakdown

A two way 4th line that has plenty of potential to score the timely goal, this line is another good example of balance. We know Langkow well from his time in Calgary and Brule, the near Kings buyout, has some solid hands when he isn’t too busy being left behind to use them. Chipchura is the fighter on the team and appropriately, the former Anaheim Duck punk. I was tempted to save Nolan for him, but regardless of matchup, Nolan v Chipchura seems like a sure thing.

The matchup

King-Stoll-Lewis. Kong and Chipchura are both big boys and should have some epic collisions. Meanwhile Stoll is very familiar with Langkow as they used to be division rivals. Both two way centers who like to play on the boards, Stoll gets the edge due to speed and youth. Meanwhile Lewis can matchup with anyone defensively. Secondary matchup is 4th line on 4th line.

The Defense

Defensively the Coyotes sport pairings of young stud Oliver Ekman-Larsson with Rostislav Klesla, Keith Yandle with Adrian Aucoin and Derek Morris with either Michael Rozsival or David Schlemko, usually Rozsival.

Oliver Ekman Larsson is smart defensively and a smooth skater. Klesla is a bruiser with a bad attitude who has been providing uncharacteristic offense. Yandle is the whole package, Aucoin a journeyman veteran, Morris a powerplay specialist who isn’t the player he once was and Rozsival is average across the board. The Coyotes defense plays a tight system that transitions very quickly. They do not have our size but they pass with the best of them, not by virtue of skill so much as that, like us, their forwards help out religiously on defense. It’s easy to make a pass when the forward is in perfect position to receive it, but hard when you breathe uncomfortably down the rotted, sunburned defensemen’s neck.

If we don’t get caught chasing their forwards, our forward group can overwhelm their defensemen with our size. Their bottom pairing has been playing well enough but can be forced into mistakes if pressured in their own zone. Their first pairing needs to be somewhat respected and controlled with spacing and by cutting off their outlet passes and the second pairing is good at moving the puck and needs to be pressured at the point.

Our defense, man to man, outmatches theirs in every respect, but again both these teams have gotten where they have based on a strong system and a team unity that allows them to strike at the right time and hold together under moments of adversity. As such, I believe this series will be played largely between the ears.

The Canucks and Blues cracked emotionally,and very quickly at that. That won’t happen with these two teams. The psychological battle will be careful and unfold slowly. Once an edge is gained it must be maintained as both teams can rally back from penalties, goals, hits or fights that go against them.

Coaching and leadership

Both teams have fantastic head coaches, but when it comes to leadership, I give the Kings the overall edge. While Dave Tippett has been with his group for longer, they have been playing his system for years, Darryl Sutter has a group that is replete with leaders. Dustin Brown is just one at the top of many. Willie Mitchell is a leader, Mike Richards is someone others naturally follow, Anze Kopitar has the respect and attention of his teammates and Matt Greene can rally a team with a hit or merely a blocked shot.

System-wise I am not the expert, but as with magnetism of the same charges, this series will either hold steady and equally press upon and repel each other, or a slight imbalance will be found and all hell will break loose, potential energy oozing and zooming at every opportunity. I think we truly have to call the coaching here a draw until further notice.

This series isn’t about the first goal, it’s about the second. But this is where the one factor I’ve left for last comes in.

The Goaltending

Jonathan Quick vs Mike Smith. Both goalies have shut out the other this season. Both benefit from strong defenses and don’t see an inordinate amount of second chances. Quick has the edge in agility, Smith the edge in size, though Quick is quite large himself, he stays low and likes to challenge, whereas Smith stays deep and plays tall. Smith likes to gobble up rebounds whereas Quick like to control them to keep the play moving. Smith’s weakness is primarily his tendency to overplay the puck. He loves to come out across the dots and snag pucks. The Kings can either take this option away from him by carrying the puck more, or mess with him by varying the types of dump-ins they use. Some success has been seen against Smith with short, angled dump-ins meant to ricochet off the half wall at the dots instead of the typical play behind the goal line. As Quick is prone to the bungled play from misplacing the puck behind the net, Smith is gullible towards the bad goal from overplaying it in front.

Smith’s positioning deep in the net also leaves him heavily susceptible to high-tip plays. Of course the Phoenix skaters will have a lot to say about this, but this is where Doughty, Martinez and Voynov need to step up to the plate and truly run the points in a way they weren’t entirely needed to in the first two rounds. They need to draw the defending forwards high to open up space for our forwards to cruise comfortably near the tops of the circles. The low-to-high plays that Scribe hates so much very well may just be the key to solving the league’s second best goalie in the playoffs.

One of these guys is geared to fall off the tight rope they’ve been walking. Smart money goes to Smith for crashing back down to earth. Smith has not had to contend with a forward group like ours. Nashville doesn’t have our talent and the Blackhawks couldn’t get their act together. The Kings will have to score more dirty goals this round, a few of Richards now patented ‘catching the goalie off guard’ goals are also welcome anytime he gets the urge.

All in all this is shaping up to be an epic series. Two teams playing their best hockey of the season at the right time. Two teams finally grasping an identity that has eluded their franchises for years. Two teams who don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘stop’.

But only one team has a Vezina caliber goalie.

Only one has a captain leading the charge in every aspect of the game the way Cup winning captains do.

Only one gets to compete for the Cup.

The Coyotes may play the game the “right” way, but when it boils down to it they are outclassed at every position AND facing a team that is just as hot as they are, if not more-so, having made shorter work of tougher teams that the Coyotes have faced thus far.

One thing is certain, the fans are in for a hell of a ride.

Kings in 6.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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24 replies

  1. Why is it I hear the song “Dueling Banjos” when I was reading this?

    • We can figure this out.

      Are your missing more than 13 teeth?

      Does one of your eyeballs sit significantly lower on your face than the other?

      Does your brow protrude farther from your face than your nose?

      Are you especially fond of pigs?

      If you answered yes to any of these questions then that is why you are heating dueling banjos.

  2. I wish you would write like this more often. One of the best posts I’ve ever seen, anywhere.

    I only wish to add that the glaring difference between the two teams is defensive scoring. Both teams have 4 goals from defensemen during the playoffs so far, and as you said the Kings have accomplished all the statistical advantages in fewer games. To really see the teams’ player matchups, I do not think it at all irrelevant to examine the regular season.

    In goals, the Kings were led by Drew Doughty, with 10 regular season goals. Next was Voynov (in just 54 games) with 8, then Martinez with 6 (in just 51 games) then it was Mitchell with 5, Greene 4, Drewiske 2 and Scuderi 1. The total was 36, entirely without Jack Johnson’s goals.

    Foe-nix had a total of only 34 among all their defensemen, spread among 10 players, with two of those ten showing zero goals. Ours were spread among 7 players, with everyone getting goals. Not only did our defense outscore them, by a large margin adding Johnson’s 7 (I think, as of when he left), but the breakdown of goals-by-player tells the real tale.

    The Coyotes goal breakdown by player looks like this: 13,11,3,2,2,1,1,1,0,0.
    The breakdown of Kings goals by player looks like this:10,8,6,5,4,2,1.

    The clear advantage of a balanced scoring threat goes to the Kings, and when you (correctly and astutely) decipher the huge impact defensive scoring is likely to have, our guys are far and away the biggest threat.

    We have to stop two guys, one on each paring. They have to stop at least 4 guys, with at least one significant scoring/assisiting threat on each line.

    If our young guys can handle the forecheck (Martinez and Voynov) and just get to the attacking zone for a setup, the Kings have a huge edge. Well, huge as in mentionable, since I totally agree this will be super close, the toughest test yet, and probably tougher than a Finals might be.

    I think it’s gonna look like two canis species fighting up and down the ice; we need to be the wolves, whose howls of victory overpower the yelps of the defeated.

  3. Smart money goes to Smith for crashing back down to earth.

    … Hahaha. I knew I’d find it in there.

    But only one team has a Vezina caliber goalie.

    … True, but the Kings have a top five goalie this season, too.

    The Coyotes may play the game the “right” way, but when it boils down to it they are outclassed at every position

    … The hubris is beginning to take over a bit within the articles posted here. The Coyotes and Kings played in the same division all season long, and the fact of the matter is that the Coyotes won the division. They’re a better team than you and most others realize.

    AND facing a team that is just as hot as they are, if not more-so, having made shorter work of tougher teams that the Coyotes have faced thus far.

    … Very debatable. Chicago and Nashville are damn good teams.

    • … True, but the Kings have a top five goalie this season, too.

      gyar har you made a funny.

      As for hubris, damn straight. I’m absolutely brimming with pride and I’m not ashamed of it One bit.

      As for underestimating or not giving the Coyotes enough credit, well simply my true. I gave them tons of compliments and made note of all that they do very well, that they have two formidable lines, a couple of stud defenseman and a goalie that is very hard to beat and a fantastic coach and system. What more can I say besides predicting them to win?

      Which I will not do.

      I think we are better. Man to man, we are deeper and more talented. At WORST, our goaltending is equal. Our defense is far superior. Phoenix will be quite the challenge, but we will prevail.

      As to Chicago and Nashville Being two strong teams, yes they are good. But we dismantled two teams with no glaring weaknesses. We MADE weaknesses out of strong teams, often by sheer force of will. Chicago had huge holes, their goaltending was never going to take them far in these playoffs, which have truly been the year of the goaltender. And Nashville was strong, but you talk f karma and karma was gunning for them as soon as their Captain made a mockery of himself by slamming Zetterberg’s head into the boards. Furthermore, while they may not have had weaknesses (besides a lack of dominant centers), their coach created a weakness by handicapping his own team.

      To say we beat the better teams on more spectacular fashion may be debatable to a point, but it is not a stretch.

      • And Nashville was strong, but you talk f karma and karma was gunning for them as soon as their Captain made a mockery of himself by slamming Zetterberg’s head into the boards.

        … You are right.

        To say we beat the better teams on more spectacular fashion may be debatable to a point, but it is not a stretch.

        … No, it isn’t really a stretch at all. I think all the teams kinda run together this postseason. The parity is remarkable.

        • If the parity is there and Nashville and Chicago are equatable Vancouver and St. louis then we still have the edge as we dismantled both our opponents and Phoenix in a sense squeaked by Chicago with 3 OT victories.

          I’ve seen people say that Phoenix has played the tougher series and sure, that’s true, but that’s not because their opponents were better than ours, it’s because they weren’t playing as vastly superior to their opponents as we did ours.

          • … I won’t deny that the Kings have been the most impressive team in the playoffs thus far, that would be stupid of me and unfair to the Kings. They’ve earned the role as the favorites, despite not having home-ice advantage in this series.

            I don’t take issue with your prediction of the Kings winning in six, as I’ve seen that everywhere else. I feel you’re simply underrating the Coyotes, as I feel a lot of people are. Or maybe I just hate predictions.

            I’m eager for things to get started. I’m curious to see how the Kings handle adversity, which they have not had to face at all in these playoffs as of yet. If the Kings happen to lose the first game, or the first two games – will they be able to turn things around? Or will they, as the Blues did, lose their footing and fall deeper in the hole?

            Quick’s given up some real softies in the last couple games. If this trend continues, I think the Kings will be in serious trouble.

          • Some of the goals Quick has given up haven’t been very good. However he has not given one up at a crucial time and further, I think Quick is mostly prone to soft goals in games were he is not tested. Where the defense is doing all the work and he isn’t seeing many shots. When the Kings are actually giving up flurries and get on their heels, that is when Quick becomes virtually unstoppable – when he is needed most.

            Also as you saw in game 4 against the Blues, after one soft goal, Quick totally shut the door. I’m not worried about Quick.

            The adversity thing is an interesting point, but I will argue that the Kings have faced adversity and the reason try have been the most impressive team is because that adversity hasn’t phase them at all.

            Against Vancouver, Schneider shut the door and looked unbeatable for a time. Didn’t phase the Kings. The Canucka took runs and liberties, didn’t phase the Kings. St. Louis started to turn the tide in game 3, didn’t phase the Kings. In all these instances the Kings have bared down and redoubled their efforts, scoring answering goals and delivering answering hits and fights instead of becoming unraveled the way the Cancks and Blues did. We won those series Because we have proven immune to adversity, not because we haven’t faced it.

          • We won those series Because we have proven immune to adversity

            … NO team is ever “immune” to adversity. Don’t allow a nine-game sample size fool you into thinking otherwise. I remember very clearly the comments which were made here, by you and by others, after the last two games of the regular season. Those same comments were on every Kings’ site. Just nine games ago, people looked completely justified picking Vancouver over the Kings in 5 or 6 games. Teams don’t go from vulnerable to “immune” to adversity in nine games.

          • Oh jeez. I was exaggerating. I don’t need to be told that bad things can happen. I’m boasting. You should boast too. What’s the fun in a playoff run if you spend the whole time scared?

            My point remains, the Kings have done so well because when adversity has struck, they have responded magnificently.

          • … Scared? No. Mindful of what the other team can do? Definitely.

  4. This is just super great info that simply cannot be found anywhere that I know about, and it is all for free. You professors are creating hopefully hordes of expertly knowledgeable King fans, that can spread out far and wide to preach Kings hockey. I mean the end result here, is that we all will not be able to buy a ticket as everybody will flock to Staples to suck up tickets. I hope I don’t have to pay an arm and leg next season. I hope Stub Hub does not crash too so that I am SOL in getting some round 3 tickets, or round 4 for that matter.

    In any event, the Kings played those noisy, howling, yelping scavenger inbred mutts twice in October, once in December and January, and then lastly on February 16 & 21.

    Our suave and debonaire Carter was dubbed a King on February 23. They brought up studs King and Nolen. Kopi’s leg was fully functional finally too. Inexplicably Richards was not even 50% of what could or should have been in the season. Brown morphed into the super real deal hero after than most famous hat trick night, that instantly turned the season around.

    My point is that the Coyotes are going to be run over very nicely by an 18 wheeler Kings truck, as this is a team they did not see as the true King team during those 6 games. Forget about those 6 games, as this is a clean slate now with the “New Kings” in town.

    Besides, the Coyotes exerted every last fiber in their furry hides to eck out wins in the regular season, where basically, they over stretched themselves to the max to achieve what they did. Honestly, I think you give them too much credit for beating a very weakened Chicago team that had dismal, porous goal-tending. As for the Preds, that team was round two mentally contaminated with the dubious Russian duo partying in Scottsdale on Saturday night to 4 am. Trotz screwed up in benching them another extra game, where the team was scattered and in some kind of dementia. The truth be told, and this has come out of Nashville, the Preds had the syndrome of “we are glad to be here mind set”, as they finally beat thier nemesis Wings after a decade of futility. To the Preds, they believe they won their unique Nashville Cup in exhausting themselves over their chief executioners. They were ultimately happy campers with what mileage they got out of this season.

    So, for me, we got the “New Kings” that have the total package now, while those flea magnet mutts
    are the “old same old” animals from yester-months.

    Look at it this way, from the downsized canine brains of those desert critters, they KNOW they are in for the biggest hardship and cruelty hockey match in the Western conference. They did not want to ever see the Kings again this year, after they saw what happened to this King team going on a hot streak since February.

    Sure, anything goes and we could get a barn burner where all bets are off the table and a nail biter where the final series handshake traditions are up in the air to figure out to the end. Yet, regardless, I really like the idea of the Kings 18 wheeler squashing some road kill in the next two weeks.

  5. Thanks for that. excellent job.

  6. This Phoenix series scares the shite out of me. I think too many people underestimate the Yotes. I hope you are right on your prediction, Mr. Surly. Interesting to also see how the long lay-off effects both teams.

  7. I would argue the Kopitar line stands to score more against their opponents. Doan is a terrible two way player and any of those top three guys can take advantage of that.

    I think you underestimate the speed of the game they play at. They play similar to the San Jose’s run and gun game that has been known to give us troubles.

    Also, haven’t you complained on how Quick freezes too many pucks?

    HOWEVER, I do think that the Kings are just playing better.
    Kings in 5

  8. Good Read: Coyotes and Kings need to temper their mutual dislike


    Good Video: See the Yotes v Kings back in January, fights galore, grudge match, etc, etc.

    However, for me, I don’t expect that degree of combat but rather the Kings will do what they have been doing so far in the playoffs. Why change anything, but, just execute what has been working.

  9. We should be very afraid of Phoenix. Everyone on their team is acting like they just won a free trip to Disneyland. No pressure, no expectations. It is amazing to think what a team can accomplish when everyone writes them off and starts thinking about next season. Three weeks ago, the Kings were in that position. Now, we’re the odds-on favorite to win the Cup. When everyone starts jumping on the bandwagon, you should start panicking. When all the “experts” (and really, if we were as bad at our job as these guys are at predicting hockey, we’d be fired) start lauding your team and orgasming on themselves, you know it’s problematic.

    On paper, the Kings are better. With that said, there is no doubt we have been the beneficiaries of many fortunate bounces and calls. MANY. All that crappy luck we experienced for 3/4 of the season has come back as good karma in the playoffs. Can it keep up? What happens if Penner goes back to his lazy self? What if our non-existent power play comes back to haunt us? There are so many questions that we overlook because the Kings decimated two very good, but highly overrated teams in these playoffs. Vancouver didn’t have their right labia for the first three games. St Louis crumpled like a sand castle in a tidal wave when we pressured them. There is a reason Brain Elliot was the BACKUP in Ottawa last year.

    Look, I love the Kings as much as anyone. I haven’t missed a game all year. I cried when we swept the Blues (no homo). But Phoenix, much like San Jose, has a way of taking us out of our element and playing down (up?) to the level of our competition. While we are without a doubt a better team than at season’s end, so are they. And what is Mike Smith’s career records against us, like 9-3 (someone please look this up)? Vrbata and Doan are both Kings killers. And that physical edge/presence everyone talks about…doesn’t anyone know we are HORRIBLE 4-on-4? All those matching, roughing minors will come back to haunt us.

    I hate everyone jumping on and writing off Phoenix. It is very, very dangerous. Game 1 will be very telling. If we win and continue our preposterous road streak, then everyone can breathe a little. If not, it allows doubt and second guessing into the equation. Be very careful Kings fans; Hollywood may be the place of happy endings, but let’s hope Phoenix doesn’t end up as our Joffrey Baratheon.

    • I cried when we swept the Blues (no homo).

      I just found out I am gay. I cried from happiness when my son was born.

      Er, wait, maybe this test only applies to people who cried when the Kings swept the Blues. Is it tied to the fact that “swept” cannot be writtien without having “wept” in it? Maybe the tears-per-win ratio is the dedicing factor, or is it a simple sweep-or-no-sweep equation? Does it work for all sports? Dammit, I though we had this thing dicked, now we don’t.

      Maybe this crying thing doesn’t solve the “diagnosis” problem after all. At first, I thought I knew I was straight, then I remembered I cried so I thought I was gay, and now I have detected a possible contradiction in the whole “crying means I’m gay” argument.

      Dammit, now I am confused as to my sexual orientation. Come to think of it, does “orientation” indicate whether I like Asians?

    • For the last time, NO ONE IS WRITING OFF PHOENIX!

      It’s as if you negative nancys need us to predict the Kings to lose the series to e content that we are giving the Coyotes enough credit.

      I’m treating this series going into it EXACTLY te same way I treated the first two rounds – our opponent is very good and is going to make it a hard series, but I believe the Kings will win. That’s all.

      In no way is that writing off the Coyotes. For shits sake last week I wrote that the Coyotes are the only team left that really scares me. That doesn’t mean I have to prognosticate doom and except everything that is going right to go wrong. You all have Timmy Love Kicked dog syndrome.

      • Surly, my response was geared towards those eternal optimists who believe the Kings have become the greatest thing since sliced bread…you know, the same Kings fans who were clamoring for Lombardi’s head and denouncing Sutter as a stupid farm boy.

        I have believed in this team all year, because, even from the beginning, we had the right combination of skill, speed, grit and physicality. I took them to win the cup at the start of the year (25-1). I doubled down when they were floundering in 12th (40-1). I spent twenty years waiting for ’93, and nearly another 20 waiting for this moment. OUR TIME IS NOW.

        Yet, as you admitted in your fantastic breakdowns, you watched very little of Phoenix’s past series and know nothing of their checking line. Your candor should be applauded, but as someone who has watched Phoenix all year, who has gone to the middle of the desert for two of our three games there, I can say without doubt that this team is absolutely legit. That they are in the conference finals should surprise no one.

        Have we been the best team in the playoffs? No fucking doubt. Have we also been the beneficiaries of fortunate bounces, guys stepping up at crucial moments, and opponents not playing up to their potential? Sadly, yes. We have to remember we are the 8 seed. We have to remember we were fortunate to make the playoffs. We have to remember that Scotty Howson is the dumbest GM in the league (and he dumped Vermette to Phoenix).

        That underdog status, that nobody believes in us mantra is what has fueled the fire this postseason. Now, with all the “experts” lauding us as favorites, it can be easy to grow a big head. Add in an exceptionally under-rated team in Phoenix, and it could be problematic. Could. Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps.

        Sutter has done a tremendous job and keeping the team level headed. His “you dont get nothing for three” comment was purely amazing. I think as fans we tend to let emotions override reason and logic. That emotion is what drives us to fanatic levels, to invest so much in these guys and rise and fall with their successes and failures. The players notice it too; even Mike Richards was blown away by the reception after sweeping St. Louis. That same emotion, if bloated by past successes and strengthened by unrealistic optimism, can also be our downfall. Add in a good Phoenix team, and it could spell trouble. That is all.

        • I don’t have time to fully respond right now but I want to say 3 things quickly. 1- I lashed out at you but really was addressing a larger group. 2- great post. 3-

          Have we also been the beneficiaries of fortunate bounces, guys stepping up at crucial moments, and opponents not playing up to their potential? Sadly, yes.

          You say sadly but I think those are the things that Cup winning teams do. Great play mixed with luck mixed with guys stepping up.

  10. I look at it this way. I now choose from my own free will and volition to be optimistic that the Kings will prevail. I have taken the bait, hook, sinker and fishing pole down my throat. This team is that exceptionally good now. It finally morphed into an elite team, where I really now feel very comfortable that they can beat anybody, anywhere. I don’t use that word “favorites”, as that is just a bunch of speculation. Also, I don’t even like the word “upset” as being applicable here either.

    To me, it is different, where I prefer to merely conclude that the Kings are elite now and are focused and in synch together to find the different ways to pull out wins. Everybody is on the same page and stepping up their games. The weapons and skills are there now, and they can pull this off.
    They want to pull it off which is good enough for me too.

  11. Nicely done, Surly!


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