Taking a look at their regular season series, we should be in for a fun, wild series with many ups and downs.
Oct 20, 2011 LA 2 @ PHX 0
Oct 29, 2011 LA 2 @ PHX 3 OT
Dec 26, 2011 PHX 3 @ LA 4
Jan 5, 2012 PHX 0 @ LA 1 OT
Feb 16, 2012 PHX 1 @ LA 0
Feb 21, 2012 LA 4 @ PHX 5 SO
It's a 3-3 split, with 3 shutouts, and 3 games going into overtime/shootout. Sure both teams have the best GA/G averages in the league these playoffs (LA - 1.56, PHX - 1.91), but they are also up there in goals for with LA averaging 3 goals/game and Phoenix potting 2.64 goals/game, both of which are higher than their regular season goals/game averages. Both teams got hot late in the season which propelled them into the playoffs and this could be a reason for their post-season success - they've been in playoff mode for two months now.
The Kings have gotten some timely offence from their captain, Dustin Brown, who has a team leading 6 goals including 2 game winners, and some great secondary scoring from just about everyone on their team (15 different players with goals!). Anze Kopitar has done as expected, and Mike Richards looks like the Mike Richards from his Cup run of 2010 with the Flyers, while everyone is still waiting for Jeff Carter to wake up. Throw in the fact that Dustin Penner is actually contributing and the Kings are mighty scary this time of year (he must be eating these every gameday). For many, the Kings haven't surprised these playoffs, they've done exactly what they were expected to do from the beginning of the season. Sure they started slow and needed to dominate the final month of the season, but they are well awake in May and serious contenders.
The 'Yotes have been sparked by Allan Walsh's favourite player, Antoine Vermette, who leads the team with 5 goals and 9 points in 11 games after scoring only 11 goals in all 82 regular season games. The fact that the Coyotes top two scorers during the season have been fairly quiet on the scoresheet could lend them a hand if Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata start putting up the points like they did throughout the season. You may be surprised to learn that Oliver Ekman-Larsson is only 20-years-old, yet averaging almost 4 minutes more of icetime than anyone else on the team with 26:04 TOI/game - which sucks if you're 20-years-old and have to compare yourself to that. Overall, the Coyotes are a rag-tag team of solid players, and may have been underestimated in the first two rounds, but now we know they are for real.
Why To Cheer For LA:
Why To Cheer for Phoenix:
Basically, you have the Coyotes, who are a great hockey team in a crappy hockey city and the Kings, who are a great hockey team in a city of bleached blondes and fake boobies (seriously Google: LA Kings girl. Like most previous conference finals, this series is a toss-up, with both teams deserving to be there, but only one able to compete for the Stanley Cup, so sit back and enjoy one of the most anticipated-but-never-predicted-series in recent NHL history.