Unfortunately, they didn’t get their prize, unable to put down the Coyotes for good. It will take at least one more matchup to clinch the series and a trip to the next round.
Is this deja vu? Are we back in the Western Conference Quarterfinals?
Nope, but the Kings are in very familiar territory after losing to Phoenix for the first time this best-of-seven set. And if recent history is on their side, a Game 5 on the road is just what they need to get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Kings went on a surprising three-game win streak against the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks. A sweep was all but imminent, but the Canucks were on the winning end of Game 4, and it sent the series back to Vancouver. Both teams played well, but the Kings snagged the OT win, which sent them to the Semifinals and sent the Canucks to the golf course.
The Kings went on to sweep the St. Louis Blues in the second round, and worked up yet another 3-0 series lead against the Coyotes in the conference finals — before Sunday’s Game 4.
Forget the fact that the Kings have been playing some great hockey these playoffs. Forget that Dustin Brown has been an absolute beast and reminding critics why he’s the team captain. Let’s even forget about Jonathan Quick’s phenomenal playoff numbers (11-2 record, 1.46 goals-against average, two shutouts, and a save percentage of .948? Not too shabby, huh?). Instead, focus your attention on this incredible stat:
The Kings are undefeated on the road during the 2011-2012 postseason: a perfect 6-for-6 away from the corner of 11th and Figueroa.
Now, hockey and sports in general have shown us plenty of times that statistics and numbers don’t always mean much. Sometimes, remarkable things happen that no one expects. So, in the grand scheme of things, the undefeated road record may not prove to mean a lot in the end…but maybe it does (New Jersey won two titles with unreal play as the visitor).
Combined with the balanced, all-around great play of the Kings over their last 13 games, the goaltending prowess that Vezina nominee Jonathan Quick has exhibited, and the momentum and fire felt when a team is on the brink of making the Stanley Cup Finals, that road record is one more good sign for the Kings as they head to the Valley of the Sun.