Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: The Los Angeles Kings Are for Real and on a Roll

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: The Los Angeles Kings Are for Real and on a Roll
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Living out east, there seems to be a line of thought that the winner of the Eastern Conference final between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will likely go on to win the Stanley Cup.

Out west, the Los Angeles Kings may have something to say about that.

Powered by Jeff Carter's hat trick in a 4-0 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night in Arizona, the eighth-seeded Kings now hold a two-games-to-none lead over the third-seeded Phoenix Coyotes. The Kings also had the same lead in their first two series this spring, against the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues, respectively—and everyone knows how both of those affairs turned out.

"When you look at it, it's not very normal that you've only played this few of games in the third round," said coach Darryl Sutter to the Los Angeles Times.

And to think Carter was wasting away in Columbus before a late-season trade reunited him with fellow Philadelphia Flyers exile Mike Richards in Hollywood. Now the Flyers are off golfing, while Carter and Richards and the rest of the Kings are just two wins away from the finals.

Los Angeles team captain Dustin Brown leads all active playoff scorers this spring with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points. He's also recorded 51 hits, 24 penalty minutes, a plus-11 rating, seven blocked shots and three game-winning goals in 11 outings while helping the Kings to seven consecutive playoff road victories this spring.

Anze Kopitar has four goals and 13 points up front, while Richards has 3-7—10 points. Defensively, the group of Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi is a combined plus-28 and has also chipped in with three goals and 15 points.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last but definitely not least, add in goaltender Jonathan Quick. The Connecticut native made 24 saves Tuesday in recording his second playoff shutout and is now 10-1 with two shutouts in the postseason, along with a 1.45 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage.

Throw in a penalty kill that's functioning at 87 percent efficiency and a power play that scored two goals two nights ago, and the Kings seemingly have just about everything they need.

The Kings' winning ways on Tuesday night frustrated Phoenix forwards Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal into earning game misconducts for questionable hits on Trevor Lewis and Brown, respectively. Hanzal also earned a one-game suspension for his hit that will cost him a spot in tonight's game at the busy Staples Center in Los Angeles.

''We're not here to worry about it (dirty play),'' said Scuderi to the Associated Press after Game 2. ''We came to get the game, and we got it.''

The Coyotes could be down by three games and facing elimination when Hanzal gets back if the Kings keep on playing they way they've been playing. Which is likely.

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