As we begrudgingly watch them barrel through these playoffs all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, we can't help but notice some paralells between these Kings and a certain Western Conference champion from 2003.
The Kings had 95 points in the regular season to earn the eighth seed in the West, although they've looked like anything but an 8 seed as they've steamrolled through the postseason with a 12-2 record and an unprecedented eight straight playoff road wins. They dispatched the No. 1-seeded Canucks in five games, the 2-seeded Blues in four and the 3-seeded Coyotes in five.
The 2003 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim also had 95 points, but earned the seventh
seed in the West. They went on to sweep the 2-seeded Red Wings, edge the 1-seeded Stars in six (including an epic five-overtime Game 1) and down 6-seeded Wild in a sweep.
Meanwhile, both teams were riding an incredibly hot goaltender, though Jonathan Quick's outstanding postseason (1.54 GAA and .946 SV%) doesn't quite compare to the all-time great playoff run J.S. Giguere put together in '03 (1.62 goals-against average and five shutouts, including a perfect 7-0 in overtime and a Conn Smythe).
Want more similarities? How about celebs in the stands? 2003
Further, when the Mighty Ducks won the West in '03, captain Paul Kariya didn't touch the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, out of traditional superstition
... nor did Kings captain Dustin Brown when LA won the West on Tuesday night.
Depending on what happens in tonight's Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 (or a possible Sunday Game 7), both the '03 Mighty Ducks and '12 Kings could be facing the New Jersey Devils in the Final. We know what happened to those Mighty Ducks -- a crushing 3-0 defeat in Game 7 in New Jersey. What happens with these Kings remains to be seen -- but you know we'll all be watching.
I want to know, Ducks fans, who would you rather see the Kings face in the Final? The Devils can clinch a trip to the Final with a win in over the Rangers in tonight's Game 6 in New Jersey (5 p.m. Pacific on NBC Sports Network). Based on what we've seen in this Devils-Rangers series, New Jersey appears to be playing slightly better hockey and would appear to have the edge on knocking off the Kings. But an LA-New York Final (featuring a Rangers team America got to know during HBO's 24/7 series
) has a little more flair than an LA-New Jersey one.