NHL Playoffs 2012: LA Kings Dominate Blues to Prove They Are Cup Worthy

Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIMay 1, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 30: Anze Kopitar #11 and Justin Williams #14 both of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate Williams' goal against the St. Louis Blues in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center  on April 30, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

On Monday night, the St. Louis Blues were handed a beatdown on their home ice by the new fan favorites of the NHL, the Los Angeles Kings.

For a team that barely squeaked into the playoffs, L.A. has proven that they not only deserve to be in the postseason, but they deserve to be the favorites to take home the most coveted prize in hockey.

The Kings have yet to lose on the road this season and the rag-tag group of players with their Vezina-finalist goaltender and their bitter beer-faced coach are turning heads with their all around impressive play.

After taking Game 1 behind another stellar performance by goalie Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles stunned the crowd at the Scottrade Center by knocking off the hometown Blues 5-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

The 19,366 fans witnessed the Kings open up with a 4-0 lead in the first period and embarrassing Brian Elliot on his home ice.

How could an eighth-seeded team was expected to be ousted by Vancouver without a fight in the opening round play at such a high caliber of hockey?

Finishing the regular season next to last in scoring, all season long the Kings have been anchored by Quick.

After watching the first period of Game 2, that stat could not have been any more shocking to hear.

Mike Richards' goal 31 seconds into the game had Blues fans wondering if Game 2 was going to be any better than Game 1.

The Kings came out firing on all cylinders, out-shooting the Blues 16-5 in the first period and scoring three goals during the last five minutes of the first to send chills down the home crowd's spine.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Kings are for real. This is not any run of the mill eighth seed being the Cinderella story of the postseason like the Lightning were last season.

Los Angeles has dominated its competition in the 2012 playoffs, and with a 2-0 series lead heading back home to Staples Center, it is very likely the Kings will meet up with their divisional foe Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference finals.

L.A. went 3-1 against the Blues during the regular season and have outplayed them in the first two games of their series.

A healthy Jeff Carter will be essential to the Kings if they want to win it all, and with the pair of Dustins (Brown and Penner) playing tremendous postseason hockey, the sky is the limit.

Not to mention they have a pretty solid goalie.

If the Kings win Game 3 on Thursday the series is all but over. Only three times in NHL history has a team come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series.

The odds are in the Kings' favor.

New York and Philadelphia, most analysts' picks to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals have both looked streaky so far.

The Rangers can't seem to score and Ilya Bryzgalov can't stop a puck to save his life.

In the West, the Coyotes are the only team that has played as consistent as L.A. has so far. The Kings have played solid all the way around and are driving a train of momentum right through the rest of the competition.

Quick hasn't blown three leads in the last minute of the game like Mike Smith has, either.

All the Kings have to do is to keep playing quality hockey and they will hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.