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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

Exciting season series bodes well for conference final

Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 1:56 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer / Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Every season series between division rivals is a hard-fought six-game standoff. But this past season's games between Phoenix and Los Angeles were so closely matched that it could serve as an exciting preview for a potentially explosive Western Conference Final.

The season series between these Pacific Division rivals started October 20 in the season's second week. That night in Glendale, Jonathan Quick made 28 saves in a 2-0 win. Compared to the five series games that followed, that score was a blowout win for the Kings.

The teams met again in Glendale just nine days later in a game that saw the Kings and Coyotes go back and forth, combining for 72 shots. The hard-fought affair ended with Daymond Langkow's overtime winner from in close on Quick to give the Coyotes a 3-2 overtime win.

By the time the regular season was wrapped up, the Kings would hold a 3-1-2 advantage in the series, outscoring the Coyotes 13-11. Every game but the opener was won by a single goal in a season matchup that saw three shutouts, two overtimes, a shootout, and even a scrap between captains Shane Doan and Dustin Brown. The shootout took place in the teams' final matchup on February 21, a 5-4 Coyotes win in Glendale won by Mikkal Boedker's pretty shootout tally on Quick.

If that wild season series, not to mention the first month of the playoffs, is any indication, the 2012 Western Conference Final could be a good one.

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday