Well, well well…. I’m all messed up like a kit in a hail storm on all my Stanley Cup Playoff predictions aren’t I?
I had said the Nashville Predators would go the distance and take game 7, WRONG!!
I had said the St. Loius Blues would also go the distance against the LA Kings and win in game 7, WRONG AGAIN!!
I’ll be surprised if I get out of the second round not going for the ‘Big O’fer’ as the Rangers and Caps are going into game 6 with the Rangers up 3-2 in games and the Flyers vs Devils, well again I look like I’m out to ‘pasture’ on that one as well, Devils up 3-1 in games with game 5 in Philly set for tonight.
So what does this all mean you ask? Well really nothing but I had to rant for a little as for my own predictions are way out in ‘Left field’ and sooner or later no one is going ever going to listen to me again (well thats what my kids say!)
But really it does mean something, it means you just never know what the playoffs will bring you even if you have done your research (I did honestly). Players will tell you over and over again that come playoffs it’s a whole new ball game, a whole new season where one goalie gets hot and carries his team on his back or where the second or third line ‘role’ players step it up and fill in the blanks that the ‘money players’ aren’t having luck at doing. It’s crazy but it is so real that we sit back and wonder why we even bother trying to predict.
So go ahead and tell me you had all the teams that have won in your playoff draft right up to this round and you have been on a roll with perfect predictions and I will tell you that …… again I can’t print that!! but I will say well congrats to you (you lucky so..) and all the best with the final two rounds (I hope you go down now brother!!-No honestly, here is there!)
Ah the Coach is having a little fun with you all here that’s all. Now lets get to a sneak preview of the Coyotes and the Kings match up shall we!
Phoenix Coyotes vs LA Kings
As I write this blog the start date for this series has not been set but I really don’t think neither team cares when the puck will be dropped. It has been 19 years since LA has been in the conference finals and let it be known this is the Coyotes first ever appearance in their 33 year NHL history for this outstanding and determined franchise.
These two teams have met on a regular basis and are quite familiar with each other. They have played 6 times this season and have both won three games a piece, there is really no sure thing going into this series except it will be a thriller for sure.
What this series will come down to is goaltending, simple as that. You have two ‘tenders of the twine’ who are playing outstanding. One we know who has played like a future Vezina winner and the other who has come out of no where and is starting to show us all that he is the real deal and the future of the Coyotes. This can be a ‘toss up’ with either tender ‘stealing’ a game or two but my feelings are that you go with the so-call vet in this series, so the Coach goes with Quick on this.
Now looking at the back end of both teams I still feel the upper hand goes with the Kings as well and here’s why:
Drew Doughty has become of age in these playoffs. He has shown his maturity and why he can be put into the ‘elite’ category of all-star defensemen. He has played 25+ minutes per game, has 6 points and is a plus 7. This young is getting some help from a ‘wylie’ old veteran in Willie Mitchell who himself is averaging 25+ minutes per game and a steady force in his own end. Past Stanley Cup winner with Pittsburgh, Rob Scuderi is another ‘stay’ at home defender who makes life pretty hard on the opposing teams in his own end.
While the Kings seem to have the slight advantage in the D-zone over the Coyotes don’t count them out just yet. The Coyotes have veterans in Derek Morris and Adrain Aucoin that can calm the winds down until their younger boys get things going again. When Oliver Ekman-Larson is on he is a very reliable defenseman who has been logging up to 26+ minutes per game and he is only 20 years old. Then with Rostistav Klesia available (if not injuryed) he can be a inspiration to the other young defenders. Keith Yandle is another valuable component that some teams have looked over but with 7 points so far in the playoffs I think the Kings need to take notice.
When we talk about scoring for the Coyotes we must talk about doing it by ‘committee’ form only as through 11 games these playoffs the Coyotes have dressed 15 different forwards which is really unheard of but as they say ‘what isn’t broken, why fix it!’ This only tells us how deep (all four lines contribute) the line up that Coach Tippett has at his disposal. Tippett has his team playing his effective two way system and by my standards they have mastered this to a ‘T’. It can be boring to watch but also can be a joy in the same breath to observed. This system is what really the Coyotes are all about and the Kings better be ready to counter-attack. With Vermette leading the charge along with Lankgow, and the age less Ray ‘Wizard’ Whitney filling in where needed these Coyotes are the real deal.
Finally the King of Kings, Captain Dustin Brown a member of the organization since 2003 can now look back on the years gone by and say the wait has been worth it. Other Kings vets such as Kopitar (2006), along with newly acquired Richards this past summer form a strong attack and throw in Penner, Justin Williams who seems to have a re-charged year including these playoffs has chipped in with 7 points so far. With just not the offence that is rolling well for the Kings they are very sound in the defensive zone and with Quick in net they have only allowed 14 goals against, not to shabby in my books.
Over-all the Coach feels this series will be real tight and should go and I hope it does go 7 games. It will be a battle as you have two tough skilled teams who are coached by two past players who played the game and I mean every game for keeps. There was no let up in Sutters nor Tippett’s play and their own respected teams do the same.
I’m calling this Kings in 7 and great goaltending by both clubs.
I just hope whoever gets into the Eastern Conference finals can be a match as well as these two teams, lets hope so!
By Warren Nye, UltimateHockeySource.com
May 9th, 2012