La Kings and Phoenix Coyotes, set to square off in the Western Conference finals have exploded in the postseason, becoming legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup. The Kings are the 8th seed in the West. The Coyotes had the third-fewest points in the conference headed into the playoffs.
The Kings have been off since Sunday, when they completed a sweep of the St. Louis Blues. The Coyotes have been idle since Monday, when they completed a five-game elimination of the Nashville Predators.
Los Angeles and Phoenix actually have some forgotten hockey historical past. From 1990-97, the Phoenix Roadrunners were the Kings’ International Hockey League affiliate. Coyotes radio play-by-play man Bob Heethuis held the same post with the Runners from 1992-97.
The Kings have definitely been playing really well. They got well balanced score and everyone contributing. Quick has been the biggest difference maker. He’s outplaying the goalies they have confronted. The layoff might be hard on both the Kings and Coyotes. They’ll keep themselves in good physical shape by having good practices, but that’s not the identical.
The Kings are basically playing like a complete team, benefiting from numerous contributions across the board.
As the Coyotes got past Chicago and then Nashville Doan had to learn how to act while accepting congratulations instead of condolences on the traditional series-ending handshake line. They have played a grind-it-out, counter-punching type that is sure to make the Western Conference finals exciting. They are led by goaltender Mike Smith, who has now extended his shutout streak to 164 minutes, 45 seconds, the longest postseason streak in the history of the Phoenix-Winnipeg franchise.
It all adds up to what is sure to be a exciting, yet completely unpredictable series matchup between the Coyotes and Kings. This may not be the Predators-Blues matchup we all were dreaming of, but the Coyotes and Kings have earned every bit of their success in the playoffs, and they are simply playing like title contenders right now, regardless of what they did or didn’t do in the regular season.
Kings-Coyoutes matchup will start Sunday at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., at 5 p.m. Pacific time and continue there on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Pacific time. Each of games will air on NBC Sports Network.