Sunday afternoon the Kings did something they hadn’t done in nearly 20 years – and only once since entering the league in 1967 – advance to the third round of the playoffs. A little more than 24 hours later, they now know who they’ll be playing.
After defeating the Nashville Predators tonight in Arizona, the Phoenix Coyotes will play the Kings in the Western Conference Championship in a series that could begin on Sunday. However, the official schedule isn’t expected to be available for a few more days.
In the regular season the Kings went 3-1-2 against the Coyotes.
However, you can likely throw out all the regular season stats coming into this series. First of all, as division rivals, the two teams know each other very well. Thus, the games are just as likely to be 1-0 as they are 5-4.
That said, the most important factor on paper may be Jeff Carter. All six of the Kings-Coyotes contests were played before the late-February trade that brought the speedy sniper to LA. Thus, the current Kings line-up, with two solid scoring lines – not to mention the added contribution they’ve been getting from the bottom-six during the playoffs – will be a new look for coach Dave Tippett and the Coyotes.
Darryl Sutter was with the Kings for the final four of the six meetings during the regular season, going 2-1-1. It’s the last three though that probably speak to the wide spectrum of expectations when the clubs meet. The final game of the season series (played February 21) was a wild affair, with Phoenix winning 5-4 in a shootout. Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown, two of the Kings best players in the just completed sweep of the Blues, had goals that night. Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata each had a pair for Phoenix.
In the game prior, Vrbata picked up the only goal in a game that was most notable for its wild first period – one that featured three fights, including captains Doan and Brown going at it, as well as Mike Richards taking on the much taller Martin Hanzal.
Their first match-up of 2012 was another 1-0 game, with Doughty getting the game-winner in overtime. In more weirdness, there were only two penalties called the entire game – one for each side.
We’ll have plenty of pre-series comments from the Kings players and coach Darryl Sutter live from practice on Tuesday.
In the meantime, be sure to vote for the LA Kings 3-stars and MVP of round two. The poll is up here.
Finally, here are some Kings-Coyotes related articles to get you primed and ready…