Kings Setting Records and Winning Angelenos Over
What the Kings are doing in this postseason is nothing short of amazing. Not only are they setting records, but they are also winning a portion of the hearts of Angelenos echoing the 1993 team.
Among the records they are breaking or tying, courtesy of the Kings PR department:
- The Kings have now won seven straight playoff games (a club record)
- The Kings have tied an NHL record with seven straight road wins in one playoff year (last by Chicago in 2010)
- The Kings have tied an NHL record starting the playoffs 7-0 on the road (last done by Colorado in 1999)
- The Kings have tied an NHL record with nine straight road playoff wins (spanning more than one year) - NYI also had nine in 1982, 1983
- Jeff Carter’s hat trick was the 10th in Kings playoff history (last was Gretzky May 29, 1993 at Toronto)
- Jonathan Quick earned his third career playoff shutout, tying a club record (Potvin also had 3)
- Quick’s two shutouts in one playoff year ties a club record (previous was two by Potvin in 2001)
Since the league went to four rounds of best-of-seven series, the 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers set a record going on a tear in the playoffs needing just 18 games to win the required 16. Right now the Kings are 10-1 with just six victories to hoist the holy grail of hockey. You do the math.
It's easy for those of us outside of the confines of the meeting rooms, the dressing room, the video room and what not, to get inundated with hyperbole.
"I don't think there's a team that's made it far in the playoffs resting on their last game, what they did, saying, 'that's the best game we played,'" Dustin Penner said. "It's that constant drive to the perfect game, as close as you'll get, that I think makes a team successful."
There is perspective amongst the players. Jarret Stoll isn't surprised by the run they've been on. He downplayed how good they have played.
"Well, it hasn't been easy," Stoll said. "We've had some adversity, we've had some tough games where we haven't had our A game, we needed our goaltender or defense to bail us out."
Stoll did admit there is a marked changed with the team now compared to the regular season.
"We're in sync a little bit more than obviously we were in the regular season. We're getting contributions from everybody. We're winning in different ways. That's the way you have to do it in the playoffs if you want to go deep."
It's a habit for the team getting out to a 2-0 lead on the road in each of the three series.
"We try not to take anything for granted from the other team, especially starting each series on the road," Penner said. "We want to get that edge where we can steal one in their building. Right now it's working out well for us."
While there was frustration by the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues in the first two series, the Phoenix Coyotes took it to the next level with some of their frustration hits. Coyotes' goalie Mike Smith's slashing of Dustin Brown was not met with any supplementary discipline while Martin Handzal's boarding of Brown was met with a one-game suspension.
"It's almost comical to watch because you think he runs on batteries sometimes," Penner said. "He keeps on going. You knock him down, but you can't keep him down."
If you don't look closely, you can't tell whether Penner was talking about his captain or the team during the regular season.
This team had more than their fair share of bad losses, a 1-0 home loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets just after the New Year being a glaring one. But as they stormed through March, they started scoring with more regularity.
Despite getting the eight-seed, it's not too hard to see them in this postion. However what is jawdropping is that 10-1 record.
"When you look at it, it's not very normal that you've only played this few of games in the third round," head coach Darryl Sutter admitted.
The Kings return to the STAPLES Center Thursday night for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. With the Dodgers wearing silver-and-black Dodger caps during batting practice on Tuesday, Dodger fans loudly cheering whenever Kings' highlights are shown on DiamondVision mid-game, there is the beginnings of a love affair between the city and the team.
"We love the support we're getting from L.A., especially when we're in the Staples arena," Penner said. "It's been great. We look forward to every home game we have."
"It's L.A.," Stoll said. "We're all in the playoffs. It's great to see that. The Lakers, with their whole winning tradition, it's pretty special. Hopefully we can switch it over to the Kings for a little bit."