2012 NHL Playoffs: 5 Heroes from the Kings vs. Canucks Series

Jason Lewis@@SirJDLCorrespondent IIApril 23, 2012

2012 NHL Playoffs: 5 Heroes from the Kings vs. Canucks Series

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    The Kings did something that only four other teams in history have done. They ousted a Presidents' Trophy-winning team in the first round.

    And they did it in spectacular fashion: a Game 5 overtime winner from an unlikely hero.

    It was a series that was considered David versus Goliath, and David prevailed.

    As with any playoff series, there were some real heroes who stepped up and played big when the team needed it. This series saw no shortage of heroes on both sides.

    Here are a few which made the Vancouver-L.A. bout a memorable one.

Jonathan Quick

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    Let's give it up for the Kings' 26-year-old brick wall.

    He closed out the series with spectacular numbers: a .953 save percentage, a 1.59 goals-against average and a crucial Game 3 shutout.

    Quick came to play, and he bailed his team out more than once with timely saves, and there was at least one game that he stole completely on his own. 

    He was the Kings' best player throughout the entire series, and never faltered.

Cory Schneider

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    Let's also give it up for Cory Schneider.

    He came into the series under difficult circumstances, replacing long-time, publicly maligned starter Roberto Luongo.

    Not to mention, he was down 2-0 in the series, heading to L.A. against one of the best defensive teams in hockey, and arguably the best goalie.

    But Schneider settled them down. He played wonderfully for Vancouver and, realistically, put the fear into many Kings fans that the series was far from over, even being up 3-0.

    The 26-year-old posted amazing numbers as well, with a .960 save percentage and a 1.31 goals-against average.

    It's a shame he didn't get the offensive support because Schneider was playing brilliantly. Well done, Cory.

Dustin Brown

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    Dustin Brown, quite simply, was a game-changer and a series-changer.

    Brown had four goals, one assist and five points in the five-game series with Vancouver. But on top of that, he was a plus-four, had numerous big hits and had two shorthanded goals.

    You ask your captain to lead by example, and Brown rose to the occasion. He was averaging five shots a game, the highest number in the series, and had 21 hits, another series leader.

    No one should question why Brown wears the "C" on his chest.

Jarret Stoll

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    In the playoffs, it's easy to go from zero to hero. And that's just what Jarret Stoll did.

    No question Stoll had a regular season filled with struggles, scoring just six goals, and tying career low of 21 points.

    But the playoffs are a clean slate, and even though Stoll scored just two goals in the series, both were game-winners, and one the decisive series clincher.

    The little things showed up for Stoll in the series and are easily overlooked. He won 58 percent of his faceoffs and had 15 hits over the course of five games.

Willie Mitchell

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    Willie Mitchell was far and away the Kings' best defenseman of the series.

    Mitchell averaged the second-highest ice time amongst Kings defensemen with 25:27 a night, most times matched up against the Canucks' top line.

    What did Mitchell do with that ice time? He posted a league-leading 25 blocked shots, was a plus-three and even chipped in with two points, a goal and an assist.

    Mitchell played huge minutes for the Kings, both five-on-five and special teams. His contribution and on-ice leadership were crucial for the team in the series.