A 11-game win record in the post-season and the Stanley Cup are well within the team's grasp, writes Sam McCaig.
March of the Los Angeles Kings continues in play-offs
Darryl Sutter scoffed at the "team of destiny" suggestions, but the Los Angeles Kings coach cannot deny his club are on a streak that is approaching unprecedented proportions in the NHL play-offs.
The Kings, who entered the post-season as the No 8 seed in the West, have gone from an opening-round upset of the top-ranked Vancouver Canucks to a Round 2 dismantling of the St Louis Blues to another dominant performance in the Western Conference finals against the overmatched Phoenix Coyotes.
Going into last night's game, Los Angeles had won a record-tying seven successive road play-off games; they have won eight consecutive play-off games; and they are 11-1 in the 2012 post-season.
The only blemish came way back in the first round, more than a month ago on April 18, when they fell 3-1 to Vancouver in Game 4.
No matter. They had won the first three games of the series, and they closed out the Canucks a few days later.
And the Kings have not lost since. People are starting to wonder if they will lose another game at all in these play-offs.
The record for consecutive playoff wins in one post-season is 11, a mark shared by three teams. The Mario Lemieux-led Pittsburgh Penguins won 11 in a row in the 1992 play-offs, as did the Chicago Blackhawks, whose streak came to a sudden stop when they were snuffed out in the Stanley Cup final by Lemieux's mighty Pens.
The Patrick Roy-backed Montreal Canadiens also turned the trick in 1993 (thanks in large part to another record: 10 successive overtime wins) on the way to the storied franchise's last championship.
Nobody is saying this season's Los Angeles Kings are as good as Lemieux's Penguins, who won back-to-back cups, or the Edmonton Oilers dynasty that claimed five championships in seven years. But in this age of parity, when it seems like all 16 play-off teams truly have a chance to win it all, the Kings have been running roughshod over their opponents and are on the verge of eliminating the Nos 1, 2 and 3 seeds in the West in remarkably easy fashion.
For a team that stumbled in the regular season - when goals were tough to come by - the Kings have got hot at the right time, with three lines in a scoring rhythm and goalie Jonathan Quick playing spectacularly.
They are big, fast and physical. They are dedicated defensively. Put it all together, and it looks like a team destined for the Stanley Cup, regardless of their coach's protestations to the contrary.
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