Los Angeles Kings: the greatest end-of-season run of all time?
Was today’s victory by the Los Angeles Kings one of the greatest post-season runs by any professional sporting team ever?
Lucky to even make the playoffs, the Kings squeezed into the Western Conference playoffs as the #8 seed, where they were pretty much written off as easy beats for the much hyped #1 seed Vancouver Canucks.
However, with a bit of grit and determination, LA were able to knock off last seasons Stanley Cup runners-up in five games, shocking the hockey world.
Hype over the Kings started to generate around the city of Los Angeles, who haven’t had anything to cheer about since Wayne Gretzky donned the silver and black and led the Kings to their only other Stanley Cup final in 1993.
But still, the Kings, who had the lowest winning percentage of any playoff team this season, weren’t expected to even chalk up a victory against the second seed St Louis Blues, let alone sweep them in four games and move on to the Western Conference finals.
By now, a team that were at long odds to even make the playoffs after sacking their coach in mid-December, had somehow miraculously managed to knock off the top two teams in the West, going a perfect 5-0 on the road with dynamo goaltender Jonathan Quick only conceding 14 goals over their first nine games.
Still, they had to get through the #3 seed Phoenix Coyotes who had disposed of the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators without much trouble during the first two rounds. Yet, once again, the Kings fought against the odds and skeptics, running out winners in 5 games, winning three on the road to continue their fairytale run.
Finally, the people of Los Angeles, who had already seen both the Clippers and Lakers eliminated from the NBA playoffs, had something to cheer about, turned their attention squarely to the Kings for the first time since Gretzky arrived.
Starting on the road, LA went into New Jersey and won both game one and two in OT, before wrapping up an easy game three victory at home with a shutout of the Devils. After stumbling to two consecutive loses in games four and five, the Kings managed to destroy New Jersey 6-1 in game six to become the 2011/12 NHL Stanley Cup Champions.
In a story that looks remarkably like that of a Mighty Ducks film, the city of Los Angeles can finally lay claim to their first Stanley Cup in its 45-year-history.
I struggle to think of any post-season run that comes even remotely close to this, both in Australia or overseas.
In the NRL, an eighth seed has never won a grand final, with the Parramatta Eels being the only #8 seed in 2009 to even suit up in the first week in October. They however went down to the Melbourne Storm 23-16 (as a side note, the premiership was stripped following salary cap issues uncovered in 2010).
In the AFL, since 2000, a team outside the top 4 hasn’t even made the grand final, let alone an eighth seed making a run at the sacred “Holy Grail”
What do you think, Roarers? Has their been a team in professional sports that has come close to the Los Angeles Kings playoff run of 2011/12.
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