(Photo Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
If the Los Angeles Kings were in the hit HBO television show, Game of Thrones, they would be close to controlling all of the seven kingdoms.
In another impressive display of teamwork, the Kings left Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals with another tally in the win column. The victory improved the franchise’s record to an astounding 11-1 in the 2012 postseason and are one win away from punching their ticket to the Finals. As the North American media fawn over the stellar play of Jonathan Quick, the shake and bake moves of Anze Kopitar, and relentless forecheck from their forwards, a bigger question has started to surround this team:
Will they take the shortest route to a Stanley Cup victory?
The history books will tell us that the odds are not in the Kings’ favor. Since the playoff format changed following the 1986 NHL postseason (allowing all four series to be a best of seven), only four teams have won the Stanley Cup in 20 games or less:
- 1987-1988: Edmonton Oilers (18 Games)
- 1992-1993: Montreal Canadiens (20 Games)
- 1994-1995: New Jersey Devils (20 Games)
- 1996-1997: Detroit Red Wings (20 Games)
In order for the Kings to break the current record, not only would they have to finish their current series in a sweep, but they would also have to sweep their Eastern Conference opponent in the finals. Quite the challenge, if you ask me.
No matter how impossible the road ahead looks for the Kings, they’ve already defied the odds of making it as far as they have. The team backed into the 8th spot in the West after losing their final two regular season games in overtime. They entered postseason play with a huge chip on their shoulder and a first round date with the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. The rest, as some might say, is history.
But before Commissioner Gary Bettman automatically hands the cup over to Dustin Brown, there is a chance that this fairytale story takes a turn for the worse. In fact, the Kings could enter the record books for all the wrong reasons. If they make it to the finals in as little as 13 games and then end up losing to the New York Rangers or New Jersey Devils, would they be considered the best playoff team to get to the finals and lose?
Will we see a brand new record within the next few weeks or will we see an epic collapse? If you believe that the Kings will win the Stanley Cup, how many games do you think it’ll take?