It was a royal flush for the Los Angeles Kings.
The Kings, who haven’t reached the conference finals since 1993, are now headed to face the winner of the Coyotes/Predators series for a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. An impressive feat for a team that was not expected to beat the heavily-favored Vancouver Canucks or St. Louis Blues.
And now, they’re looking like the favorite to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Los Angeles has had a lot going for them in these playoffs. Players like Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and several other players have stepped up for the Kings. Brown, who put up 22 goals in the regular season, has exploded in the playoffs. In nine playoff games, Brown has scored six goals, two of which he scored in the 3-1 win this afternoon, and five assists for 11 points. Kopitar and Richards also contributed 10 and eight points respectively throughout the playoffs. Not to mention the contributions from other members of the Kings during the playoffs.
It also helps that LA has one of the best goaltenders in the League in Jonathan Quick.
The American-born netminder has been a huge part of the Kings success, winning all but one game in the playoffs this year. Through nine games, Quick has posted a 1.55 goals against average and a .949 save percentage. He has come up big when the Kings needed to, including this afternoon when he stopped 23 of 24 shots faced.
“We found a way to win the game, and he was a big part of it,” Brown said after the game. “That was reminiscent of what he’s done for us all year. We had maybe a little bit of a letdown in the second. I’ve said this I don’t know how many times, but it’s Quickie being Quickie.”
“I think you need great goaltending to win every game that you play in the playoffs,” Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said to the media.
The Kings have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs and accomplished a feat that hasn’t been reached since the days Wayne Gretzky donned a Kings uniform. It’s something that wasn’t lost on Dustin Brown.
“It’s the first time in 20 years, 19 years, whatever it is, so we’re proud of this group,” Brown said. “We probably have a night to enjoy it. We don’t want to be known as the only other Kings team to make it past the second round, though.”
Others had confidence and knew all along that the Kings could go this far.
“You know what, it’s great, but it’s something that we set out to do,” Quick said. “It’s something that we came into the season wanting to do and wanting to accomplish.”
“We knew, all along, we had this team in here to do it,” Drew Doughty added. “Right now, we’re playing with a ton of confidence. Every single guy is feeling a part of the team, and that’s exactly what you need in the playoffs.”
The Kings have to wait, at least, one more night before they will know their next opponent.