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.

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.