By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on May 29, 2014
The Los Angeles Kings sit one win away from their second Stanley Cup Final in three years and while there is much work to be done it's not too soon to think about who their Conn Smyth candidates are. While hockey is a team game certain players have risen to the occasion more so than others and their play has been instrumental in the Kings getting where they are. The following five players are the Kings’ five most valuable players in the playoffs.
While Jonathan Quick had one of the greatest postseason runs ever by a goalie in 2012, too often it appears the Kings are winning in spite of the former Conn Smythe winner. That being said, he has been stellar at times and kept the Kings in many close games.
Carter was having an average postseason until the Western Conference Finals, when his affectionately named ‘That 70s Line’ began looking like LA’s famous “triple crown line”. His play against the Blackhawks is the biggest reason the Kings are up 3-2 in the series with a chance to clinch at home.
Gaborik is now one of three Kings to have double digit goals in a single postseason - joining hockey legends Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille - and has been well worth the assets the Kings gave up for him. A Conn Smythe win will surely add value to the already-large contract the pending free agent has played his way into.
From the onset, Kopitar was the Kings’ best forward in the playoffs before the Chicago Blackhawks were able to slow down his line, allowing Jeff Carter's line to step up. His defensive work has also been exceptional as he has taken many big faceoffs and gone against the other teams’ top offensive producers all playoffs long. Consistency has defined Kopitar throughout the postseason and the Kings have needed every ounce of that.
Doughty is seemingly everywhere on the ice every single night. He produces offensively, plays great defense and logs heavy minutes (often in excess of 30 minutes per game) doing everything for the Kings. He has been the Kings’ undisputed best player and if the team does win the Cup, he will be the one accepting the Conn Smythe from Gary Bettman.
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