The Los Angeles Kings might have just won themselves the Stanley Cup with last nights early, entertaining dispatching of the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Kings certainly looked the part of hockey royalty while dusting the third-seeded Coyotes in five games capped by Tuesday nights 4-3 overtime thriller in Glendale.
Dustin Brown is the kind of one-man wrecking ball that would make any Bruins fan proud, Drew Doughty is the do-everything defenseman that every NHL team lusts after and Jonathan Quick was dubbed Vezina Smythe by his teammate Dustin Penner in postgame interviews after his game-winning goal in overtime on Tuesday night.
The Kings now await the winners of the rock fight between the Rangers and Devils, and it should be a pretty advantageous position for the West Coast warriors either way. They get a week to rest and recharge the batteries while the Eastern Conference slugfest continues.
If the favored Blueshirts end up taking the hotly contested best-of-seven series that appears destined to go the distance, it will mean New York has played the maximum 21 playoff games entering the Cup Finals against a rosy-cheeked Kings bunch. After brutal opening playoff series against the Senators and Capitals, the Rangers are doing everything the hard way in the playoffs.
That kind of yeomans work might cost them when they need to dig down deepest against their West Coast challengers, and certainly takes a toll as time wears on.
After the Bruins became the first NHL team to win three Game 7s en route to the Stanley Cup last season, it doesnt take a Massive Dynamic scientist to tell anybody the Rangers would have to match that feat against the hottest team in hockey.
Unless, of course, they can take care of business in the next two games against New Jersey and get a couple extra days off.
Looking through the annals of playoff lore, every Stanley Cup winner has enjoyed at least one short series where they were able to catch their breath en route to raising the Cup.
Last year the Bs blew out the Flyers in a four-game second round sweep that turned into a key factor in their Cup victory. This season the New Jersey Devils had a five-game victory over the very-same accommodating Flyers team in the second round of the playoffs.
The Kings have only played 14 playoff games entering the Conference Finals. That means, in essence, that the Rangers will have played another entire series of games going up against the Kings. Thats a huge difference.
The Devils might actually stand to be the Eastern Conference opponent more able to give a Los Angeles team of destiny the best fight possible.
One thing is certain if both the Rangers and Kings make the Cup Finals: Yet another team that began the year in Europe at the Premiere Games will hoist the Cup overhead just as the Black and Gold did last season.