Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/18/12 at 08:52 PM ET
from Rich Hammond at the LA Kings website,
Two years ago, a lot of zeros boarded the Kings’ flight to Vancouver for the start of the playoffs.
Dustin Brown: zero career playoff games. Drew Doughty: zero career playoff games. Anze Kopitar: zero career playoff games. Jonathan Quick: zero career playoff games. A quartet of young players, the core that had led the Kings to the playoffs for the first time in eight years, suddenly found itself on unfamiliar turf.
If experience is the best teacher, these Kings have been well-schooled. Back-to-back years of first-round playoff exits, coupled with the addition of some postseason-tested players, have put the Kings in a position to do what they couldn’t do in 2010: pull an upset of the highly-favored Vancouver Canucks.
The Kings lead 3-0 in the best-of-seven series heading into tonight’s Game 4 at STAPLES Center. If the Kings are able to win the series, it will be a big moment for a team that has been trying to take the next step since president/general manager Dean Lombardi began his slow, steady rebuilding project in 2006.
Of the 20 players who are expected to suit up tonight for the Kings, 10 have never won an NHL playoff series. The best players, and best teams, reveal themselves in the postseason, and the Kings know that only by winning in the playoffs can they truly validate their progress over the past few years.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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