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NHL Western Conferece Playoffs:The Kings are at it Again

kingssharks-wrLast season, the Los Angeles Kings made a surprising run to their first Stanley Cup championship. They won four playoff series last year despite not having home ice advantage. This season, they started off slowly after the lockout and quietly made their way up to the fifth seed.

Thanks to the San Jose Sharks upsetting the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round, the Kings have home ice advantage in a playoff series for the first time in 20 years. After beating the St. Louis Blues for the second straight year the Kings took the ice at Staples Center for Game One.

Los Angeles beat the Sharks 2-0 in Game One thanks in large part to last year’s Stanley Cup Finals MVP goalie Jonathan Quick. Quick made 35 saves in the game without allowing one to get past him. The Kings took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal from Slava Voynov just before the period ended. They made it 2-0 12:30 into the second period on a goal by Mike Richards. That was more then enough for the Kings behind the stellar play of Quick.

Not too may people thought the Kings would be much of a threat to win the Cup this year. Most have the Pittsburgh Penguins or Chicago Blackhawks after their fine regular season records. Those teams could very well still win the Stanley Cup, but soon people better start taking the Kings seriously.

Pittsburgh beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 in Game One of their second round Eastern Conference series. They got out to a 2-1 lead in the first period. Paul Martin 2:41 into the game on a power play before Ottawa tied it two minutes later on a goal from Colin Greening. Evengi Malkin put the Pens back on top at the 12:15 mark of the first period.

Chris Kunitz scored late in the second period to make it 3-1 and then in the third period Pascual Dupuis made it 4-1 with his goal at 11:24.

A Penguins-Kings Stanley Cup Finals would be a titanic match up between the defending champions and the overwhelming favorites. Before betting all of your money on the Penguins, remember that the Kings have won five series in the last two years as the lower seed.

But first they both must get there. Anything can still happen in a series only one game old. But if the two Game Ones were any indication, the Kings will get their shot at the Penguins. That will be a great series.

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