Kings poised to cap off great postseason run

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Kings poised to cap off great postseason run

It doesnt look like theres any stopping the Los Angeles Kings at this point.

Jonathan Quick is throwing up zeroes between the pipes en route to becoming the best US-born goaltender in the world (hope Tim Thomas and his 2014 Olympics hopes are paying attention), and it appears a foregone conclusion that the Conn Smythe Trophy is his.

Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and the trouble twins from the Flyers (Jeff Carter and Mike Richards) are becoming household names with giant postseason performances, and the Kings are absolutely rolling en route to the Cup. The Kings would match the 1998 Oilers with a 16-2 run through the playoffs if they can wrap things up in Los Angeles.

That, my friends, is domination.

"You never know. It's just the way it goes. You ride your confidence as far as you can take it. You ride your play, you ride your goaltender and you ride your guys that are going. We got everybody going, said Kings grinding forward Jarret Stoll. That's probably the best thing about our team, we're a team.

If you are going to beat us, you have to come through a lot of us to beat us. That's the way we feel. That's the way we're playing. Weve got one more to go.

Whether it gets wrapped up tonight at the Staples Center or subsequently in later games if the Devils can show some semblance of life, offense or deep-seeded emotion, Los Angeles has pushed through to another level in the NHL stratosphere.

The LA hockey club would finally bring a Stanley Cup to a franchise thats been waiting 45 years for this moment.

That being said the Kings need to finish things off before the spoils of victory are theirs; nobody hoists the Cup after slapping another hockey team around for three games.

The Kings need to become closers in a city where Hollywood deals are closed every day, but theyre not viewing win No. 4 as any different from the rest of the tight-knit series.

It doesn't count any more than the rest of them did. It's one game, so we're just going to play our game, work as hard as we can, try to be as prepared as possible and see what happens, said Quick. Its the same routine, as always. We're going to go about our
Business the same way, prepare the same way and try to be more prepared than they are.

The only shame of it all is that it was the Devils standing in the end against a Kings club thats clearly much better than the No. 8 that eked their way into the playoffs. LAs offensive depth changed for the better when Carter came aboard the Kings in February, and theyve gone 27-7-3 since swapping Jack Johnson for the Flyers scorer outcast from Philadelphia.

Granted, New Jersey is trying to win it all with a superstar in Ilya Kovalchuk thats clearly hurting and ineffective, but the Kings have two legitimate offensive forward lines, the best defenseman on either of the two teams and a dominant goaltender in his prime.

Thats a difficult combination to beat, and it looks like it wont be in the Cup Finals whether the Kings close it out tonight or in the remaining three chances theyll get over the next two weeks.

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

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It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.