The Los Angeles Kings are moving on to the Western Conference Finals with a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues Sunday afternoon. The Kings are making their second trip to the conference finals in franchise history. With the victory over the Blues, the Kings made franchise history as they recorded their first sweep in the current best-of-seven series format in the playoffs.
The Kings have now knocked off the number one and two seeds in the Western Conference. It only took nine games for the Kings to eliminate these two teams. Los Angeles is playing well structure hockey as head coach Darryl Sutter wants them to play. It all starts with their captain Dustin Brown.
Dustin Brown sets the tone for his team. He is a physical player on a physical team, but Brown also brings offense to a team that desperately needs it. Brown had four assists through the first three games of the series with the Blues. However, that changed in game four when Brown scored two goals. Brown is at his best when he is throwing hits and getting under his opponents skin. He did that against both Vancouver and St. Louis.
Jonathan Quick was again a factor for the Kings in this series. Quick made 23 saves in game four, but he was stellar all series. He outperformed St Louis Brian Elliot all series long. Quick is the reason why the Kings are making such a deep run in the playoffs. He is making timely saves when the Kings come out with a slow start. Quick has a .949 save percentage in the playoffs. If the Kings win the cup, he could be a leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Elliot on the other hand was not that great in the series for the Blues. The Blues were outworked and he did not have good games in net. Elliot looked normal in between the pipes. Many people believe Elliot could not handle the workload because he and Halak normally split time in the net for the Blues. But when Halak went down to injury, Elliot was the man in the net. The All Star goalie for the Blues just was not at his best which he needed to be with Quick performing outstanding at the other end.
The Blues were swept out of the playoffs in 2009 and in their previous appearance in 2004. The Kings only sweep was a playoff series back in 1976 over the Atlanta Flames, but that was in a best-of-three format. The Kings made their last trip to the conference finals when Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille drove them past Toronto and into the Stanley Cup Final in 1993. The Kings lost to Montreal in their only appearance in the finals.
This Kings team is trying to make history of their own. The Kings will be looking to go back to the Stanley Cup Final where they will either face the Phoenix Coyotes or Nashville Predators in the next round.