NHL Anaheim Ducks

Stanley Cup Playoffs: LA Kings continue to surprise

The Los Angeles Kings are firmly in the drivers seat as they rode a 4-2 game three win to a 3-0 lead in their best of seven series against the St. Louis Blues.

It’s not the first time an eight seed has risen up in the playoffs to upset the top seeds, but LA has thoroughly dominated their opponents. The Kings currently hold  a 7-1 record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and don’t show any signs of slowing down.

It has truly been a remarkable run thus far for the eighth seeded Kings.

Front and center for Los Angeles has been their goaltender Jonathan Quick, who has carried his mates for the majority of the season, and the playoffs have been no different.

Quick currently leads all remaining goaltenders in every statistical category, but one, where he is second.

The LA goalie was wasn’t exactly spectacular in game three, but he has shown the ability to make the key saves at big times of the game, and even taking into account Thursday night’s pedestrian effort he still owns a .932 save percentage in the series.

His counterpart, Brian Elliott has been leaky at best in the series posting a .836 save percentage through three games which is a far cry from the league leading .940 he recorded in the regular season.

Part of Elliott’s problem in the playoffs is his work load. The St Louis goaltender was a part of a platoon situation all season, but when Jaroslav Halak went down in the first round Elliott was thrust into the full time starters role. Thursday night’s game was his seventh straight start which is the longest stretch of the season, and it’s starting to show.

In game three Elliott allowed a pair of soft goals that turned out to be the difference in the game. A goal from Mike Richards was scored from below the goal line on a shot that Elliott should have had.

Richards has really picked up his play so far in the playoffs, and has become a real a go-to-guy for coach Darryl Sutter.

And why not? Richards has proven that he will go to any lengths to win as evidenced by his Gordie Howe hat trick in game three. It is that kind of versatility that will endear a player to a hard nosed coach like Sutter.

The last time Richards raised his game to this level of intensity in his game was 2010 when he led the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals.