After taking the first three games from the Coyotes, and outscoring them 10-3 in the process, the Kings faltered in Game 4. They were blanked by Mike Smith, who was absolutely outstanding for Phoenix with 36 saves.
Unfortunately for the Coyotes, a shutout performance from Smith is about the only way they can survive in this series. I predict the rest of this series will equate to just one more game, as the Kings are too good not to put away their opponents in Game 5.
The Kings and their young core are ready to march into the Stanley Cup Finals. They were careless with the puck their last time out, as evidenced by their 11 giveaways, but that won't happen tonight.
It's an issue that has reared its head during this series, but in other games, the Kings have applied so much pressure they have overcome their miscues. I expect that to happen again in Game 5.
The Coyotes fans will be up in arms in an attempt to spur their team to victory on home ice, but the Kings are destined for the finals. This has been apparent since they swept the Blues in the second round. Some may have attributed their first-round upset of the Canucks as an example of Vancouver being overrated. But when the Kings manhandled the Blues, it was clear that they were the best in the West.
The Kings have simply seen things come together at the right time. The talent has been on this club for two years, but it took them until late this season to mature. They look like they are not just the class of the Western Conference, but the class of the entire NHL. All this from a team that is an eight seed.
When you take a step back and look at it, it's been a pretty amazing ride for the Kings.
In Game 5, we will see which of the mighty young Kings will be the hero. Will it be Anze Kopitar, who has five goals and 14 points in the postseason? Perhaps captain Dustin Brown, who has seven goals and 15 points in his own right? And how can we forget about Jonathan Quick, who has been outstanding with a 1.46 goals against average in the playoffs.
This is such a balanced team, it could be anyone of a handful of players to shine.
The Kings would have liked to complete the sweep in front of their home fans, but it will be just as sweet tonight on the road.