While the Eastern Conference teams continue to battle for spots in the conference final, the Western teams prepare for their matchup.
The LA Kings made a clean sweep of the St. Louis Blues to earn their spot, while the Phoenix Coyotes took the series against Nashville 4-1. This conference final brings together two teams that many didn’t expect to see battling for a place in the Cup Final.
In LA’s first two rounds they faced defending west champ the Vancouver Canucks, who played a pathetic series but fought back to hold back elimination. The second featured the Blues, who couldn’t seem to figure out the Kings’ system while they didn’t give themselves a chance to win. The Kings will be the most-rested team going into the conference finals, which can be either a good or bad thing. But to go head-to-head against the Coyotes who are tearing up their opponents, they will need all the rest they can get.
The Coyotes have been a part of one of the most entertaining first round series, controversy and now have knocked off one of the picks to hoist the Stanley Cup. The Phoenix-Chicago series featured five overtime games before the Coyotes blew out the Blackhawks’ hopes of hoisting a cup with a 4-0 win. During that series the most-controversial hit of the playoffs was made by Raffi Torres against Marian Hossa, a hit that led the league to suspend Torres for 25 games, a suspension he would later repeal.
Knocking off the Western team favored to win the Stanley Cup in five games gained Phoenix some well-deserved notice. A matchup between these two teams will be interesting to watch as they both were off of many people’s radar for making it this far.
With as unpredictable as these playoffs have been, it’s hard to say who will and why. The Pittsburgh meltdown, elimination of cup favorites and controversy over hits, this post season has been one for the books.