The Home Stretch
Do you believe in fate? Destiny?
If you don’t I’m sure there’s a group of men living in southern California who might be able to convince you otherwise.
The Los Angeles Kings started off this post season losing their opening three games against the San Jose Sharks in what looked like a turnaround in the post season for a club that has struggled to be successful outside of the regular season.
Instead of losing the series the Kings turned things around, winning four straight, none by less than three goals. That’s a pretty big deal in the NHL world considering that was only the fourth time in NHL playoff history that a team came back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
It wasn’t a 3-0 deficit, but New York faced a similar uphill battle in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers went down 3-1, but won three straight to advance, shocking most hockey experts who expected the Pens to be successful for some reason.
Following their opening round comeback the Kings won both the conference semifinal (against Anaheim) and final (against Chicago) series 4-3, including five wins in elimination games. Their New York counterparts have only faced three elimination games, which they obviously won.
Now in this final, which is all but over, as the Kings won their third straight Monday night, it appears Los Angeles is the true “comeback King.”
In Game 1 they trailed 2-0, but tied the game in the second period. This would send the game to overtime where Justin Williams was the hero. Maybe it wasn’t fate, but when the bounces go your way in overtime like they did – Dan Girardi fanning on a clearing attempt before passing it to the Kings’ Mike Richard – it looks that way.
It happened again in Game 2. They trailed 4-2 going into the third, but again they tied it up before overtime. This time it took double-overtime, but they found a way to get the job done and take a 2-0 series lead.
Shifting to New York for Game 3 you would expect that the Rangers would get up for the game, but LA shut them out and lined themselves up for their second Stanley Cup victory in three years.
A four and out series wouldn’t be an exciting way to watch these playoffs end, but considering there has been seven game sevens in 91 games played so far, only two series that haven’t gone at least six games, 44 of 91 games have been decided by a goal and 25 games went to overtime – fans have been spoiled by arguably one of the best NHL playoffs ever.
That’s what people are saying about it, both fans and media. Considering this is a business and sport is essentially built around entertainment, NHL executives couldn’t have asked for a better on-ice product this year.
I tip my hat to the NHL and their players for another exciting year of hockey and am already looking forward to what next season will bring.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter @NGNewsChris. His column runs weekly on Wednesdays.