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Kings finally head back to Conference Finals

by Brian Compton
Jonathan Quick's remarkable season will continue in the 2012 Western Conference Finals.

Jonathan Quick
Goalie - LAK
RECORD: 8-1-0
GAA: 1.55 | SVP: 0.949
Quick, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy after notching a League-high 10 shutouts, helped the Los Angeles Kings complete a sweep of the St. Louis Blues with Sunday's 3-1 win at the Staples Center. With Quick leading the charge, the Kings are headed to the conference finals for the first time in almost 20 years.

Not since 1993 has Los Angeles made it this far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Sunday's victory, the Kings also became the first No. 8 seed to eliminate the top two seeds in a conference since the NHL adopted the format prior to the 1993-94 season.

Quick is 8-1 this postseason and has stopped 260 of 274 shots for a .949 save percentage. With his help, the Kings killed off all 17 power plays the Blues received in the series.

Los Angeles will face either the Phoenix Coyotes or Nashville Predators in Round 3. The Coyotes can advance with a victory Monday night at Arena.

"The immediate feeling is relief and then excitement because we get to start it all over again and get ready for a Game 1 all over again," Quick said. "I think it's good to enjoy it. You work so hard for it. It's good to enjoy the series victory, but it's for a short time."

Singing the Blues -- After a remarkable regular season, the Blues are going home earlier than anyone anticipated.

Of course, much of that has to do with the fact that they couldn't solve Jonathan Quick. And, let's not forget, the Blues went 0-for-17 during the four-game sweep.

But goaltender Brian Elliott wasn't himself, either. This series marked the first time all season that Elliott -- who boasted a 1.56 goals-against average and .940 save percentage during the regular season -- allowed 11 goals over the course of three games.

Elliott finished the postseason with a record of a 3-4. He had a 2.37 GAA and .904 save percentage.

Martin Brodeur
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 7-3-1
GAA: 2.15 | SVP: 0.916
Marty Gras -- Martin Brodeur was 19 years old when he appeared in his first postseason game way back in 1992.

Twenty years later, Brodeur celebrated his 40th birthday in style -- by stopping 20 shots and helping the New Jersey Devils take a 3-1 series lead on the Philadelphia Flyers with a 4-2 victory at Prudential Center.

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Brodeur is the first goaltender to appear in a playoff game as a teenager and then again as a 40-year-old. Sunday's win was the 106th of his postseason career and has the Devils just one win away from their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals since 2003, which is also the last time New Jersey hoisted the Stanley Cup.

"It feels good," Brodeur said. "It was a great effort from the guys. It's not the way we wanted to start the game, giving them a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal. But we beared down afterwards and we dominated the game pretty good."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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