Say it with me one last time.
Don’t. Sleep. On. The. Kings.
It’s hard to argue that the Los Angeles Kings aren’t the best team in the NHL. Every year in this nearly-half-complete decade they’ve made the playoffs, sneaking in at a low seed. And in two of the last three years, they’ve made the entire league pay for their underestimation. I don’t know what it is, but these guys find a different gear in the playoffs. In 2012 it started in the beginning, with the quick dispatch of the Canucks, Blues, and Coyotes in 5 or less. Before dropping their first two losses in a row to New Jersey, they were 15-2. Unreal.
2014 was different. They were at the mercy of the Sharks, who tore them apart and made them look like rubbish through three games. Then the switch flipped. It couldn’t have been more obvious. They were on. Yet this year, they slowly found themselves fading slowly as series went on. They needed seven to beat the Sharks, winning four straight after being three down for the fourth time ever in league history. Then they coughed up a two-to-none lead against Anaheim, only to claw back in seven. Then, against the mighty champion Chicago Blackhawks, they waited four periods into the series before gelling into an unstoppable machine to blast their way up three-to-one after four games. While the Blackhawks sure made it interesting before the end, it was of course the dominant Los Angeles Kings to eliminate the defending champions. This year, it took 21 games to get to the final. That’s a far cry from 14 two seasons past. Yet the result was the same in the end and that’s all that matters.
The first two games against the Rangers went to overtime and were won by Los Angeles (just like 2012!). The first two games were won by a team who never held a lead for any amount of time (just like 2013!). After three, this was poised to be a sweep, the first since there were four straight in the mid-90s (just like 2012!). I could go on, but you’ve no doubt heard these things elsewhere, beaten into the dirt by media grasping for a narrative. Don’t get me started on Game 5 and the full moon/Friday the 13th nonsense.
As for the hockey? While the Kings are a damn fun team to watch (mark those words, because one day I’ll hate Los Angeles with a passion), this wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Hell, aside from the outstanding overtime in five (and HOLY CRAP WAS IT JUST THE BEST THING EVER), the rest of the series didn’t even come close to this year’s Western Conference Finals, which featured two such games. I picked the Rangers because
I’m an idiot I wanted to be the only one to pick the juggernaut to fall. Welp. Way to be. At least I was right about the Cup being won in the same state as I was again… where will I be next June?
About the Rangers, well, I’m not really completely sure why I picked them to get to the Cup. I though it would be closer. I was wrong, but they sure didn’t sit back against these dynastic Kings, as the three overtime games show. Stick-tap to my downstate rivals for a great run.
My final rank for 2014: 67,538, in the 86th percentile. That’s higher than last year! And here I thought I’d blown it. I’m so stupid! I’ve already got something planned for next year that will make things way more fun (or depressing… who knows). I’m looking forward to it so much.
Once again, my completed 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs bracket.
The only real difference here from previous iterations is the vertical spacing of the logos in the middle rounds. Previously they were off-center from the rounds before and it bothered me slightly. Now it’s fixed! And that’s all I’ve done. Back into the vault you go once again.
Get ready for another craaazy off-season!
(Probably not, but I can hope. In Murray we trust. I’m looking forward to another NY/CA final, this time with two teams from upstate.)