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6 Stanley Cup Final Questions for the Los Angeles Kings

by Photo of Gil Santos

Sheng Peng joins us to talk about the Los Angeles Kings’ perspective of the Stanley Cup Final.

6 Stanley Cup Final Questions for the Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings went through probably the toughest path to a Stanley Cup Final in recent memory. They had to win three Game 7's on the road. They had to make two comebacks, including a historic 0-3 rally against the San Jose Sharks. They had to beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, who eliminated them last post-season in five games. Their three opponents were a combined 151-63-32 in the regular season. The Kings showed a ton of mental fortitude and proved they are an extremely tough out. 

To give us the Kings' perspective of the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers, we talked to Sheng Peng of The Hockey Writers:

1. In the regular season, the Kings were near the bottom in terms of goals and now they lead the league in the postseason. Has the addition of Marian Gaborik made that much of difference? Do the Kings have some sort of switch they turn on in the playoffs? Or do you think it's something else?

The Kings aren't as good offensively as they are now & they're not as bad as they were earlier in the season. They were a bit unlucky shooting earlier in the season; Gaborik has helped in that regard, as he's a skilled finisher. Also, Gaborik has helped to balance the lines. Because of Gaborik, Williams has been moved down to the third line, which has been huge. Essentially, luckier shooting + more skill (Gaborik, more Toffoli, Williams w/ better matchups on third line) explains a lot of LA's scoring explosion. No on & off switch.

2. Why do you think Jonathan Quick has been so inconsistent this postseason?

Quick has been very inconsistent for the last two years. I wrote a piece about that here. There's a good chance that he's just very inconsistent, in general. That means he could easily get hot in this series.

3. What do you think is the Kings' biggest advantage over the Rangers?

LA's center depth is impressive. Their second line center (Carter) is better than New York's first. Mike Richards has had a tough season, but if you're able to trot him out as your fourth-line center, that's a tough lineup. LA also has the most impactful forward (Kopitar) and defenseman (Doughty) in the series. When they're out there, which will be about half the game or so, the Rangers will be hard-pressed to control play.

4. What aspect(s) of the Rangers do you think will give the Kings the most trouble?

I'm really worried that Lundqvist will outplay Quick by a lot. Quick has been lucky this postseason to face goalies who have matched his average-ish play. Rick Nash has been absurdly unlucky in the playoffs. If he gets hot, watch out. New York also has a terrific third line.

5. If the Kings win this series it was because of what?

Overall, the Kings are a better team, top to bottom. But I think they'll need Quick to sharpen up. I don't think he has to outplay Lundqvist, but he'll have to be more consistent than he has been. The Rangers are also the least dangerous offensive team that the Kings have faced in the playoffs, so that should help LA play their trademark stifling defense in front of him.

6. What is your prediction for the Stanley Cup Final?

Kings in 6.

Sheng Peng covers the Los Angeles Kings for The Hockey Writers. Also check out his Stanley Cup Final Preview here. You can follow him on twitter @Sheng_Peng

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